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The Technical Services 



Leo P. Bropby, Wyndham D. Miles 

Rexmond C. Cochrane 


Library of Congress Catalog Card Number 60-60002 

Stetson Conn, General Editor 

Advisory Committee 
(AsoflSJune 1959) 

Elmer Ellis 
University of Missouri 

Samuel Flagg Be mis 
Yale University 

Gordon A. Craig 
Princeton University 

Oron J. Hale 
University of Virginia 

W. Srull Holt 
University of Washington 

T, Harry Williams 
Louisiana State University 

Maj, Gen. Hugh M Harris 
U.S. Continental Army Command 

Brig. Gen, Edgar C Doleman 
Army War College 

Brig, Gen. Frederick R, Zierath 

Brig, Gen, Kenneth F. Zitzman 
Industrial College of rhe Armed Forces 

Col, Vincent J, Esposito 
United States Military Academy 

Col. Warren H. 

Chief Historian 

Chief, Histories Division 

Chief, Publication Division 

Editor in Chief 

Chief, Cartographic Branch 

Chief, Photographic Branch 


Stetson Conn 
Lt. Col. Joseph Rockis 
Lt. Col, E. E Steck 
Joseph R. Friedman 
Elliot Dunay 
Margaret E. Tackley 


History of 

Organizing for War 
From Laboratory to Field 
Chemicals in Combat 


to Those Who Served 


Rather belatedly, the United States Army in preparing for World 
War II investigated on an intensive and very large scale the chemical 
munitions that might be necessary or useful in fighting the Axis powers. 
This effort required the collaboration of a host of civilian scientists and 
research centers as well as a great expansion of the laboratories and prov- 
ing grounds of the Chemical Warfare Service itself. A similar development, 
recounted at the beginning of this work, came too late to influence the 
outcome of World War I. In World War II, on the other hand, the 
Army not only prepared against gas warfare sufficiently well to discourage 
its employment by the enemy, but also developed a number of new 
chemical weapons that contributed materially to victory. The authors add 
perspective and interest to their story by telling very briefly about cor- 
responding German and Japanese activity. 

The manufacture of chemical munitions in quantity was possible only 
through a rapid expansion of private industry to support and supplement 
the work of Army arsenals. Both necessity and choice led the Chemical 
Warfare Service to make widespread use of small industrial concerns 
throughout the United States, and the account of production in this work 
is especially pertinent to a consideration of the problems involved in mili- 
tary contracting with small business on a big scale. In this and other 
respects, From Laboratory to Field complements other volumes in the Army 
series dealing with problems of military procurement. Readers generally 
as well as members of the Chemical Corps particularly should find it 

Washington, D.C. WARREN H. HOOVER 

9 June 1959 Colonel, U.S.A. 

Acting Chief of Military History 


The Authors 

Dr. Leo P. Brophy holds an A.B. degree from Franklin and Marshall College 
and M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in history from Fordham University. After teaching 
history and sociology at Fordham and Seton Hall Universities, he joined the 
staff of the Chemical Corps Historical Office in 1945. He has specialized in ad- 
ministrative and logistic history. Since 1953 Dr. Brophy has served as Chief of 
the Chemical Corps Historical Office. He is coauthor of The Chemical Warfare 
Service: Organizing for War. 

Dr. Wyndham D. Miles has an M.S. degree in organic chemistry from The 
Pennsylvania State University and a Ph.D. in History of Science from Harvard. 
After working in industry as a research chemist, and teaching chemistry at The 
Pennsylvania State University, he joined the staff of the Chemical Corps His- 
torical Office in 1953. 

Dr. Rexmond C. Cochrane obtained a Ph.D. in English Literature from 
Columbia University and was a member of the Chemical Corps Historical Office 
from 1945 until 1948. After teaching at Indiana University and the University of 
Virginia, he returned to the Historical Office as a consultant historian. He is at 
present a Research Associate in the Department of History, University of 



This volume, the second in a series of three devoted to the Chemical 
Warfare Service (CWS) in World War II, now the Chemical Corps, 
covers research, development, procurement, and distribution of chemical 
warfare materiel. It traces the history of these activities from the World 
War I period, when the CWS was activated to supervise the offensive 
and defensive aspects of gas warfare throughout the Army, until the end 
of World War II. The first volume in the series, Organizing for War, dis- 
cusses the development of the CWS organization and mission as well as 
personnel management and military training. The third volume, entitled 
Chemicals in Combat, will deal with chemical warfare activities in the theaters 
of operations. 

In treating research and development, the present volume concentrates 
on CWS projects that proved of greatest significance to the armed forces 
during World War II. It attempts to point up the problems that arose in 
the course of research and development and to indicate the solutions which 
the scientists hit upon. Since research and development in the zone of 
the interior was closely related to research and development in the theaters 
of operations, the volume covers activities in both areas. 

In contrast to research and development, procurement and distribution 
differed considerably as between the zone of the interior and the theaters 
of operations; in the theaters these activities were closely associated with 
the commanders' combat responsibilities. The volume, therefore, confines 
itself to a review of procurement and distribution in the zone of the 
interior, leaving narration of theater activities to the forthcoming Chemicals 
in Combat. 

In World War II the CWS procured a variety of munitions and 
components both from government arsenals and from private industry. 
For some of these items the service had prepared plans in the prewar 
years, but for others it had not had the opportunity to make such plans. 


Procurement by the CWS of some items was on a scale never before ex- 
perienced in peace or war. As in the treatment of research and develop- 
ment, the volume attempts to devote major attention to items that proved 
significant to the war effort. 

Dr. Leo P. Brophy wrote all of the chapters and sections of chapters 
dealing with procurement and distribution. He was assisted in the re- 
search and writing of Chapters XIV and XVI by Mr. Sherman L. Davis of 
the Historical Staff, Chemical Corps. Dr. Wyndham D. Miles wrote all of 
the chapters on research and development except the section of Chapter 
IV dealing with the treatment of gas casualties and Chapter V. The latter 
were researched and put in draft form by Dr. Rexmond C. Cochrane. Dr. 
Brooks E. Kleber and Mr. Dale Birdsell reviewed the chapters and offered 
helpful comments. 

The authors of this volume were greatly aided in their research by 
the competent staff of the National Archives, particularly Mr. Robert W. 
Krauskopf of Modern Army Branch and Mrs. Caroline Moore, Mrs. Lois 
C. Aldridge, and Mrs. Hazel Ward of the World War II Records Divi- 
sion, National Archives and Records Service; Mr. Charles E. McCusker, 
Mr. Howard V. Baute, Mrs. M. Virginia Nester, and Mrs. Mary K. Stuart 
of the Federal Records Center, GSA, Alexandria, Va.; Mr. Joseph A. Logan, 
Office of the Comptroller of the Army; Miss Clara J. Widger, Librarian, 
Industrial College of Armed Forces; and Mr. Robert T. Baldwin of the 
Chlorine Institute, New York City. Members of the U.S. Army Chemical 
Corps records and technical information staff, particularly Miss Alice M. 
Amoss, U.S. Army Chemical Corps Chemical Warfare Laboratories, Mrs. 
Marion O. Varney, Miss Ethel M. Owens and the late Mrs. Elizabeth V. 
Owens of the Office of the Chief Chemical Officer, were most helpful. 
Mrs, Alice E. Moss assisted in the verification of sources and supervised 
the typing of the manuscript. 

The authors are indebted to the many veterans of the Chemical War- 
fare Service who through interviews and otherwise aided them in writing 
the volume. Special thanks are due for the assistance afforded by Maj. Gen. 
Charles E. Loucks, Brig. Gen. Clifford L. Sayre, Brig. Gen. Harold Walms- 
ley, Col. Philip J. FitzGerald, Mr. Marvin J. Silberman, Mr. Robert M. Estes, 
Dr. L. Wilson Greene, Lt. Col. Allan C. Hamilton, Col. W. P. Fuller 
Brawner, Col. Frank M. Arthur, Mr. Lester J. Conkling, Col. Ralph W. 
Hufferd, and Mr. Roman L. Ortynsky. 


Thanks also are due to several members of the Office of the Chief of 
Military History who did much to improve this work. These include Dr. 
Stetson Conn, Chief Historian, who offered valuable advice; Mr. David 
Jaffe, who was Editor of the volume; Mr. Thomas H. Monahan, Copy 
Editor; and Miss Margaret E. Tackley, Chief of the Photographic Branch, 
who selected the photographs. 

Washington, D.C LEO P. BROPHY 

15 Tune 1959 WYNDHAM D, MILES 




Chapter Page 


The Committee on Noxious Gases, National Research Council 2 

Chemical Warfare Research in the Bureau of Mines 4 

Medical Research 8 

Research in the A EF 9 

The Centralization of Activities in the Chemical Warfare Service 12 

Chemical Munitions 14 

Gas Defense Equipment 18 

Field Testing of Chemical Munitions 22 

Demobilization 24 


The Peacetime Scientific Program 31 

Development Procedure 34 

Laboratories and Proving Grounds 36 

Assistance from Industries and Universities 41 

Co-operation with the British Commonwealth 45 

Information from the Enemy 46 


Phosgene 51 

Hydrogen Cyanide 55 

Cyanogen Chloride 58 

Mustard Gas 61 

Lewisite 67 

Nitrogen Mustards 69 

Chloroacetophenone 70 

Adamite 73 


The Gas Mask 77 

Collective Protectors 87 

Eyeshields, Dust Respirators t and Individual Protective Covers 88 

Protective Clothing and Impregnites 90 

Protective Ointments 91 

Medical Kits and Supplies 93 

Protection of Food and Water Supplies Against Toxics 96 

Treatment of Gas Casualties 97 


Chapter Page 


CWS Interest in Biological Warfare 102 

The WBC Committee and War Research Service 103 

CWS and the U.S. Biological Warfare Committee 106 

The Special Projects Division 108 

Keeping It Secret Ill 

Defense Against Biological Attack 115 

The Achievement in Biological Warfare Research 120 


The 4.2-Inch Chemical Mortar 123 

Mortars of Unusual Design 130 

Mortar Shells 133 

Mortar Gunboats 136 


Portable Flame Throwers 139 

The One-Shot Flame Throwers 147 

Mediumweighi Flame Throwers 149 

Main Armament Mechanized Flame Throwers 150 

Main Armament Flame Throwers Produced in Hawaii 153 

Auxiliary Mechanized Flame Throwers 159 

Auxiliary Flame Throwers Made in Hawaii 161 

Incendiary Projector for Airplanes 163 

Emplaced Flame Throwers 163 

Servicing Flame Throwers 164 

Toxicology of Flame Attack 165 


Incendiary Bombs 168 

Incendiary Grenades 190 

Incendiary Shells 192 

Incendiary Rockets 194 

IX. SMOKE 197 

White Phosphorus 197 

Smoke Pots 200 

Oil Smoke Generators 208 

Airplane Smoke Tanks 214 

Colored Smoke Munitions 219 


Planning for Mobilization 230 

Procurement Planning 231 


Chapter Page 


Educational Order Program 242 " 

The Munitions Program 244 

Appropriations 250 

Facilities Expansion Gets Under Way 252 

Procurement in the Emergency Period 258 

Mobilization of the Distribution System 262 


Procurement of Service Equipment 267 

Procurement of Chemicals 269 

Estimating Requirements in Wartime 272 

Facilities Expansion in Wartime 276 

Materiel Shortages and Imbalances 279 

The Search for Suitable Contractors 282 

Inspection of Materiel 286 

The Pricing Program 289 


Developments of Early War Years 297 

Advent of the Supply Control Program 302 

Procurement and Distribution of Spare Parts 306 

Improved Maintenance Practices 309 


Gas Mask Procurement 314 

Production of Impregnite ( CC-2 ) 328 

Procurement of Impregnating Plants 329 

Protective Ointment 332 

Detector Kits 334 

Decontaminating Apparatus 336 

Miscellaneous Protective Items 339 


Incendiaries 342 

Procurement of the 4.2-Inch Mortar 352 

Procurement of the 4.2-Inch Mortar Shell 355 

Criminal Involvement of Mortar Shell Contractors 361 

Flame Throwers 367 

Smoke and Smoke Munitions 371 

Problem of Morale 378 


Chapter Page 


Growth of CWS Storage Activities 381 

Storage and Transportation of Toxics 386 

Storage of Other CWS Items 389 

Packing and Packaging 393 

Distribution 397 

Lend-Lease 403 

Supplying the Ports of Embarkation 408 


Preparations for Demobilization 412 

Disposition of Facilities 415 

Contract Terminations 417 

Property Disposal 424 

To Be or Not To Be? 431 


A. Status of CWS Facilities Program 436 

B. Government Investment in Facilities, World War II, as of 31 December 1945. 448 



INDEX 471 



1. Plants and Projects of Edgewood Arsenal During World War 1 17 

2. Gas-Defense Items Shipped Overseas From June 1917 to November 1918 23 

3. Gas Mask Production at Edgewood Arsenal, 1927-1938 229 

4. CWS Educational Orders Program, FY 1939, 1940 & 1941 Summary of 

Awards 245 

5. Cost to Government of Gas Mask Educational Program 246 

6. CWS Depot Storage Space in Operation, December 1941 264 

7. Summary of Estimated Dollar Value of CWS Procurement: 1940-1945 266 

8. Expansion in Production of Selected CW Items, World War II 268 

9. CWS Gross Storage Space in Operation, 1945 383 

10. CWS Property Disposal Activities, July 1943 Through July 1945 428 

11. CWS Property Available for Disposal, January-December 1945 429 



No. Page 

1. Total Army Service Forces Estimated Dollar Value of Procurement Deliveries 

by Technical Services: 1 January 1942-31 December 1945 267 

2. Schematic Diagram, Chemical Warfare Supply as of 6 December 1944 400 


Bureau of Mines Experiment Station 6 

New Chemical Building at American University 7 

Battery of Livens Projectors 10 

Brig. Gen. Amos A. Fries 15 

Plant at Edgewood Arsenal 16 

Women Workers in Gas Mask Factory 21 

Conference on Expansion Program 37 

Dugway Proving Ground, Utah 40 

Types of Gas Masks, April 1918 77 

Army Photographer Wearing Service Gas Mask 78 

Soldier Wearing Service Gas Mask 79 

Service Gas Mask 83 

Walt Disney With Staff Members of Chemical Warfare Service 85 

Biological Warfare Test Station 109 

George W. Merck 121 

Stokes Mortar Firing Gas Shells 124 

4,2-Inch Chemical Mortar - 129 

Mortar Gunboat 138 

Operator Firing a Portable Flame Thrower ElRl 141 

Attacking a Japanese Bunker 144 

Firing an M2-2 Portable Flame Thrower 145 

American and German Portable Flame Throwers 147 

M4 Medium Flame-Thrower Tank 156 

Lt. Gen. Wilhelm D. Styer 157 

M3A1 Light Tank Equipped With Flame Gun 160 

Flame Gun To Fit .30-Cal. Machine Gun Mount 161 

Burning Phosphorus From a 100- Pound Incendiary Bomb 171 

B-25 Bomber Loaded With 500-Pound Clusters of M54 Bombs 175 

Lockheed P-38's Dropping Fire Bombs 182 

Smoke Pots Being Set Off in the Argonne Forest 198 



Smoke Screen Demonstration 201 

Small Ml Smoke Pots Set Off in a Series 203 

Troops Landing ac Elba, June 1944 206 

Mechanical Smoke Generator Ml (100-Gallon) 210 

Mechanical Smoke Generator M2 (50-Gallon) 213 

Lockheed A-29 Spraying Smoke From M33 Smoke Tanks 216 

Lt. Col. Claude E. Brigham 235 

Members of the Chemical Advisory Committee 248 

Maj. Gen. William N. Porter 257 

Meeting of Chemical Warfare Service Officers 260 

Col. Norman D. Gillet 263 

Lt. Col. Robert M. Estes 291 

Officer Personnel of the Control Division 299 

Executive Branch of the Industrial Division 302 

4.2-Inch WP Chemical Mortar Shells ; 359 

Brig. Gen. William A. Borden 373 

Boxed Cans of Decontaminating Solution 385 

Toxic Gas Yards, Midwest Chemical Warfare Depot 388 

Drums of Bleaching Powder 397 

All illustrations are from Department of Defense files. 




Research and Supply in World War I 

Although armies have used crude chemical devices since ancient times, 
chemical warfare, as an applied science, is comparatively modern. 1 Chem- 
ical warfare came along as a companion of modern chemistry, which itself 
dates from the late 1700's, when natural philosophers brought about a 
revolution in this science. As a result of this pioneer work, chemists un- 
covered a multitude of facts and conceived laws to hold these facts to- 
gether. By the middle of the 19th century it was a simple matter for men 
with a knowledge of chemistry to visualize the application of toxic 
chemicals to warfare, and to suggest specific methods of using them. 

During the Crimean War the British chemist Lyon Playfair proposed 
that a naval shell containing cacodyl cyanide, a toxic organic arsenic 
compound, be fired into Russian ships. 2 In the same war Admiral Thomas 
Cochrane urged that an attempt be made to drive the Russians out of 
Sevastopol by burning huge quantities of sulphur in front of the fortress 
and letting the wind carry sulphur dioxide gas into enemy positions. 3 In 
the American Civil War, John W. Doughty of New York sent plans for 
a chlorine filled shell to the War Department, and Forrest Shepherd of 
New Haven recommended to President Lincoln that a cloud of hydrogen 

1 Examples of the primitive use of chemicals may be found in: (1) Charles Hederer and Mark 
Istin, L'Arme Chimique et Ses Blessures (Paris: J. B. Bailliere, 1935), pp. 18-25. (2) Rudolf Han - 
slian, ed., Der Chemische Krieg (Berlin: E. S. Mittler & Sohn, 1937), I, 1-4. (3) Julius Meyer, 
Der Gaskampf und die Chemischen Kampfstoffe (3d ed, Leipzig: S. Hirzel, 1938), pp. 12-23. (4) 
Tenney L. Davis and James R. Ware, "Early Chinese Military Pyrotechnics," Journal of Chemical 
Education, 24 (1947), 522-37. 

2 Wemyss Reid, Memoirs and Correspondence of Lyon Playfair (New York and London: Harper 
& Brothers, 1899), pp. 159-60. 

3 Wyndham D. Miles, "Admiral Cochrane's Plans for Chemical Warfare." Armed Forces Chem- 
ical Journal, XI (November-December 1957), 22-23. 



chloride be used to drive the Confederates out of Petersburg. 4 During the 
century several other men proposed the use of toxic chemicals in munitions. 5 

Despite arguments that the use of chemicals in warfare was practical and 
that chemicals would cause less suffering than conventional weapons, 
national governments refused to test the ideas. Finally in 1915 Fritz Haber 
convinced the German Army that chlorine could force the Allies out of 
the trenches and he was given the responsibility of emplacing cylinders 
of gas in the front lines near Ypres. The first gas cloud attack, launched 
on a favorable bree2e in the afternoon of 22 April, was a success. 6 Allied 
troops were driven from their positions and only the failure of the German 
Army to exploit this advantage saved the Allies from a more serious setback. 

Once the practicality of chemical warfare had been demonstrated the 
belligerents organized special units to employ military chemicals, and to 
conduct chemical and medical research. In the United States the War 
Department gave responsibility for designing protective equipment to the 
Medical Department in late 1915, but the Army did not set up combat 
chemical units or begin scientific investigations until mid-1917. 7 

The Committee on Noxious Gases, 
National Research Council 

The first American chemical warfare research was not carried out by 
the Army, but by the Bureau of Mines. Early in 1917, as the strained 
relations between the United States and Germany approached the breaking 
point, the Secretary of the Interior requested the bureaus in his Depart- 
ment to determine how they could assist the government if the country 
were drawn into the war. On 7 February Van H. Manning, Director of 
the Bureau of Mines, called together his division chiefs to discuss the 
question. During the meeting George S. Rice suggested that the bureau 
might turn its experience in mine gases and rescue apparatus toward the 

4 Wyndham D. Miles, "Chemical Warfare in the Civil War," ibid., XII (March-April 1958), 
26-27, 33. 

5 (1) Brig. Gen. Amos A. Fries and Maj. Clarence J. West, Chemical Warfare (New York: 
McGraw-Hill, 1921), pp, 4-9. (2) Hanslian, Der Chemische Krieg, pp. 4-8 (3) Meyer, Der Gas- 
kampf pp. 23-28. 

6 The chlorine attack at Ypres has been discussed by many writers. See especially: Rudolf Han- 
slian, Der Deutsche Gasangriff bei Ypern am 22 April 1915 (Berlin: Verlag Gasschutz and Luft- 
schutz, 1934). 

7 'The Medical Department of the United States in the World War," vol. XIV, Medical As- 
pects of Gas Warfare (Washington, 1926), p. 27. 



investigation of war gases and masks. 8 The following day Manning noti- 
fied the Military Committee of the National Research Council that the 
bureau stood ready to assist the Army and Navy on any problems that 
might arise in the development of masks. 9 Through the months of Feb- 
ruary and March the NRC considered the matter. The bureau, in the mean- 
time, did not remain inactive but laid plans for research. On 3 April, 
with the declaration of war imminent, the council accepted the bureau's 
offer of co-operation, and appended to the Military Committee a Sub- 
committee on Noxious Gases composed of Army and Navy officers, 
members of the NRCs Chemistry Committee, and the Director of the 
Bureau of Mines (chairman), "to carry on investigations into noxious 
gases, generation, and antidote for same, for war purposes; also investi- 
gations into gas masks." 10 

During the early days of its existence, the Subcommittee on Noxious 
Gases was extremely important in initiating and co-ordinating chemical 
warfare research. It met frequently to discuss information received from 
abroad, and upon request it gave advice to the Army and Navy on ques- 
tions regarding chemical warfare. Its most important act, however, was 
to approve a plan of research for the Bureau of Mines. It is clear from 
the records that the directing force here was Manning and a small but 
extremely enthusiastic group of men whom he brought together to act 
as the nucleus of a chemical warfare research organization. Manning and 
his staff drew up a detailed plan for research, based on reports of the state of 
chemical warfare in Europe, and then laid the plan before the subcommittee. 
After some discussion the group approved the plan, thus enabling Man- 
ning to proceed. 11 It was from this action by the NRC Subcommittee on 
Noxious Gases that the Bureau of Mines derived the authority, which it 
exercised for more than a year, to carry on chemical warfare research and 
development projects for the Army and Navy. The Subcommittee on 

8 Memo by George S. Rice, Bureau of Mines, regarding early history of mask and gas investi- 
gations for the army, 9 Jan 18. War Gas Investigations, Records of Bureau of Mines (National 
Archives). Cited hereafter as War Gas Investigations, Bu of Mines. 

9 Van H. Manning, War Gas Investigations, Bu of Mines Bull 178-A (Washington, 1919). 

10 Meeting of the Military Committee of the NRC, 3 Apr 17. War Gas Investigations, Bu of 
Mines. For membership of the subcommittee, which changed somewhat from cime to time, see 
Manning, War Gas Investigations, p. 4, and George A. Burrell, "The Research Division, Chemical 
Warfare Service, U.S.A.," Industrial and Engineering Chemistry (formerly Journal of Industrial 
and Engineering Chemistry), 11 (1919), 93-94. 

31 Min, Mtg, NRC Subcomm on Noxious Gases, 21 Apr 17. War Gas Investigations, Bu of 



Noxious Gases became less important as the war progressed and in 
August 1918 it was dissolved. 12 

Chemical Warfare Research in the Bureau of Mines 

In expanding the activities of the Bureau of Mines into the field of 
chemical warfare, Manning's first step was to assemble a group of men 
to carry on the work. The leader of his staff was George A. Burrell, a 
consulting chemist who had formerly been with the bureau. Upon Burrell 
fell the responsibility of directing the building of the new research struc- 
ture. Associated with Burrell were Arno G. Fieldner and J, W. Paul of 
the Bureau of Mines; Bradley Dewey, director of the research laboratory 
of American Sheet and Tin Plate Co.; Warren K. Lewis, professor of 
chemical engineering at Massachusetts Institute of Technology; and Yandell 
Henderson, professor of physiology at Yale University. 13 

As a first move these men marked out various lines of research based 
on reports from Europe to the Army and Navy. The most urgent task 
was the design of a gas mask for the Army. Other projects included 
study of the physiological effect of toxic compounds and the proper med- 
ical treatment for casualties, work on the preparation and properties of 
gases already in use on the battlefield, and the discovery of new toxic 

The bureau had neither the space nor the men to handle all the proj- 
ects. As an emergency measure Manning obtained from the Subcommittee 
on Noxious Gases authority to accept offers of assistance from the Johns 
Hopkins University, the Mellon Institute, and other institutions. Manning 
then sent Dewey to seek co-operation from industrial and university lab- 
oratories in the West, and Lewis to laboratories in the East. 14 In addi- 
tion Manning enlisted the aid of E. Emmet Reid, professor of organic 
chemistry at Johns Hopkins, who requested organic chemists throughout 
the nation to synthesize compounds that might be useful as agents. 15 By 

12 Manning, War Gas Investigations, p. 4. 

1! (1) Min, Mtg, NRC Subcomm on Noxious Gases, 21 Apr 17. War Gas Investigations, Bu 
of Mines. (2) A group photograph showing Manning with his staff, consultants, and advisory 
committee appears in Armed Forces Chemical Journal, IX (September- October 1955), 20-21, 

14 Ltr, George A. Burrell to the Director, Bu of Mines, 2 May 17, sub: Gases in Warfare. 
War Gas Investigations, Bu of Mines. 

15 (1) E. Emmet Reid, History of Offense Research, Johns Hopkins University Station. CWS, 
H-149. ( 2 ) E - Emmet Reid, "Reminiscences of World War I," Armed Forces Chemical Journal, 
IX (July-August 1955). 37-39. 



the end of May 1917 the bureau had obtained the aid of laboratories in 
twenty-one universities, three industrial companies, and three government 
agencies, with a total of 118 chemists. 16 In time additional universities 
and firms volunteered for research projects. These civilian laboratories were 
extremely helpful, for they enabled the bureau to begin chemical warfare 
research immediately instead of waiting several months for a government 
laboratory to be equipped and staffed with chemists. 

Up to 30 June 1917 the Bureau of Mines paid the cost of chemical war- 
fare research from its own appropriations. 17 It engaged 16 men for physio- 
logical investigations on gases and masks, 20 to develop masks, 5 to work 
on munitions, 4 to prepare toxic agents and smoke, and several as super- 
visors and clerks. 18 After June the Army and Navy provided funds. 

As chemical warfare research expanded the volume of work became so 
great that the bureau needed a large central laboratory for co-ordinating 
university and industrial research, and for undertaking secret Army and 
Navy projects. After examining several sites in the District of Columbia, in 
Delaware, and at Picatinny Arsenal in Dover, N.J., Burrell and his assist- 
ants finally chose American University, which the trustees had offered to 
President Wilson for government use on 30 April. 19 The university was 
then on the outskirts of Washington, and sufficiently isolated to be used 
as a training center for chemical troops and to permit field testing on a 
small scale. Two large buildings and several hundred acres of ground were 

The War and Navy Departments in June allotted the Subcommittee on 
Noxious Gases $175,000 to convert American University classrooms into 
laboratories and to hire more chemists. 20 Several weeks later, on 21 July 
the trustees granted the government free use of the university. 

Throughout the summer of 1917 contractors worked at the university, 
converting rooms into offices and laboratories. Temporary buildings, large 
and small, were erected to serve as workshops and as houses for workers 
and as shelters for animals. The War Department converted a section of 
the grounds into Camp Leach, where officers and enlisted men could learn 
the technique of chemical warfare. 

1R Rpt submitted ac Mtg of Subcomm on Noxious Gases, 25 May 17. War Gas Investigations, 
Bu of Mines. 

17 Manning, War Gas Investigations, p. 1. 

18 Rpc, G. A. Burrell to the Director, Bu of Mines, 2 Jul 17, sub: Statement of Activities on 
Gas Work at the Present Writing. War Gas Investigations, Bu of Mines. 

J9 Yandell Henderson, History of Research at Yale Universicy, pt. 2, p. 3- CWS, H-150. 
-"Manning, War Gas Investigations, pp. 6-7. 



Bureau of Mines Experiment Station for chemical warfare, American Univer- 
sity, Washington, D.C., 1917. McKinky building (with dome) was then known as the 
Ohio building. 

In September the first chemists arrived. The laboratories were not 
finished, there was no heat, and there was insufficient equipment. Yet, 
there were so many problems awaiting solution that chemists set up their 
apparatus on improvised benches while carpenters installed hoods and 
desks, plumbers laid gas and water lines, and electricians wired sockets. 21 

Shortly after the research center at American University opened, Man- 
ning organized it into eight sections: Chemical Research, Physiological 
Research, Pyrotechnic Research, Chemical Manufacture, Mechanical Re- 
search, Submarine Gases, Dirigible and Balloon Gas, and Gas Mask 
Examination. 22 

Liaison was maintained among the Army, Navy, and Bureau of Mines 
through frequent committee meetings and by personal contact between 
officers and members of the research staff. Twice a week, conferences were 
held between officers and scientists. One conference considered chemical 
warfare offense, the other, problems in defense. Twice each month a re- 
port was sent to the War Department, the Navy Department, the Ameri- 

21 Reid, "Reminiscences of World War I." 

22 Organization Chart dated 1 Sep 17. War Gas Investigations, Bu of Mines. 


New Chemical Building at American University under construction for 
chemical warfare research. Note the class in bayonet drill, foreground. 

can Expeditionary Forces in France, and to British and French chemical 
warfare investigators. 

By the fall of 1917 the bureau had the benefit of an increased flow of 
information from Europe. In the opening months of the war it had depended 
upon reports from special observers in Europe, such as Professor George 
A. Hulett of Princeton University, or upon information acquired by Army 
and Navy officers. Then in October, Maj. Samuel J. M. Auld, chemical 
adviser of the Third British Army, and a group of officers and NCO's 
came to the United States as part of the British Military Mission. Auld 
and his men gave information on toxics, chemical munitions, and protec- 
tive equipment, and helped to lay out a chemical proving ground. 23 Also 
in October, the Army assigned an officer in London to the task of obtain- 
ing and sending home information on chemical warfare. 24 By these 
means the bureau learned of research being done by the Allies, and of 
new developments in enemy chemical warfare. 

23 A resume of work done by the British may be found in the series of reports: British Gas 
Mission to the U.S.A., A General Record of the American Chemical Warfare Service and the Rela- 
tions therewith of the British Gas Warfare Mission. CWS, H-l to H-10. 

24 History of Chemical Warfare Service, American Expeditionary Forces, Liaison Office, London. 
CWS, H-24. ' / 



By the end of 1917 the chemical warfare staff of the bureau had 
increased to 277 civilians, 34 commissioned officers, and 200 enlisted men. 
The funds allotted by the Army had jumped to $612,000 and by the 
Navy to $150,000. 25 Throughout the first half of 1918 the staff continued 
to grow, and on 25 June numbered 1,682 persons, civilian and military, 
1,034 of whom were classified as technicians. 26 

Medical Research 

The Bureau of Mines was not alone in conducting chemical warfare 
research and development for the Army and Navy. The Medical Depart- 
ment, U.S. Army, also participated for a short time, taking over certain 
projects from the bureau, continuing them for awhile, and then sur- 
rendering them to the new Chemical Warfare Service. 

The plans for medical research were drawn up by Professor Henderson 
of Yale University. Because there was no laboratory space available in 
Washington, Yale allowed Henderson to remodel the Athletic Club 
House into a laboratory and to use the athletic field. 27 Yale also built a 
laboratory beneath the bleachers, as the University of Chicago was to do 
some twenty-five years later at Stagg Field for research on the atom 
bomb. Faculty members of the university, medical students, and employees 
of the Bureau of Mines formed the staff. The men were divided into sec- 
tions working on toxicology, therapeutics, pharmacology, pathology, and 
physiology. After space became available at American University, the 
bureau transferred much of the work to Washington. 

By December 1917 medical research had become so diversified that 
Henderson and the section leaders began to hold monthly conferences in 
Washington. Known as the Medical Advisory Board, the group served as 
a clearinghouse for problems, ideas, and discoveries in the medical phase 
of chemical warfare. 

Other university groups in addition to the one at Yale were drawn 
into medical research. In September 1917 professors and students at the 
University of Wisconsin began research on ways to protect the employees 
of poison gas factories. 28 At the University of Michigan, men studied the 

25 Rpt, Research Work of the Bureau of Mines on Gases Used in Warfare for the Year 1917. 
War Gas Investigations, Bu of Mines. 

26 Manning, War Gas Investigations, p. 10. 

27 Henderson, History of Research at Yale. H-150. 

28 History of the University of Wisconsin Section, Medical Division, CWS, H-151. 



physiology and pathology of mustard gas poisoning, 29 At Western Reserve 
University, the University of Chicago, and the Marine Biological Labora- 
tory at Woods Hole, Mass., scientists took up projects. In the spring of 
1918 the Gas Defense Service of the Medical Department absorbed the 
majority of the laboratories. 

Research in the AEF 

The Bureau of Mines was too far from the battle zone to carry on 
research for the AEF, and General Pershing in the fall of 1917 requested 
the War Department on several occasions to furnish him with a labora- 
tory service to investigate war gases and powders. On 1 November 1917 
the War Department created a Chemical Service Section to comply with 
Pershing's request. 30 Col. William H. Walker, chief of the new section, 
took immediate steps to provide a laboratory for the AEF. Turning to Mellon 
Institute, Pittsburgh, Walker enlisted the co-operation of its director, Ray- 
mond F. Bacon, and its assistant director, William A. Hamor. Hamor, who 
was commissioned a major, had as his first important assignment the draw- 
ing up of plans for a laboratory for the AEF. 31 

To obtain chemicals and equipment for the new laboratory, Bacon and 
Hamor turned to the president of the Fisher Scientific Company of Pitts- 
burgh, Chester G. Fisher. Before World War I Germany was the world's 
chief source of chemicals and laboratory equipment and the Fisher Scientific 
Company depended on producers in Bavaria for its supply of these materials. 
After the outbreak of war in Europe in 1914 and the subsequent dislocation 
of shipping on the high seas, the Bavarian suppliers became very wary of 
making further shipments, and it was only with the greatest difficulty that 
Fisher Scientific got material through to Pittsburgh. But by an unusual 
stroke of fortune a considerable quantity of laboratory equipment arrived 
shortly before the entrance of the United States into the war. Fisher had this 
equipment on hand when Bacon and Hamor approached him late in 1917. 32 

29 Aldred Scott Warthin and Carl Vernon Weller, The Medical Aspects of Mustard Gas Poison- 
ing (St. Louis: C. V. Mosby Co., 1919). 

30 (1) Report of the Chemical Warfare Service, 1918, pp. 4-5. The annual reports of the CWS 
were also published as Report of the Director of the Chemical Warfare Service, Annual Report of 
the Chief of the Chemical Warfare Service, and Annual Report of the Chemical Warfare Service, 
all hereafter cited as Rpt of CWS, with appropriate year. (2) The Chemical Service Section is dis- 
cussed at greater leng th in Leo P. Brophy and George J. B. Fisher, The Chemical Warfare Service: 
\Organizing for War\ UNITED STATES ARMY IN WORLD WAR II (Washington, 1959), 
ch. L 

31 Interv, Hist Off with W. A. Hamor, 30 Dec 58. 

32 ( 1) Interv, Hist Off with Chester G. Fisher, 30 Dec 58. (2) Hamor interv. 



Battery of Livens Projectors at Hanlon experimental testing field near Chau- 
mont, France, 1918. 

The government made immediate arrangements for the Fisher Scientific 
Company to equip a laboratory for the AEF. All the apparatus which had 
recently arrived from Bavaria was put in wooden crates and shipped, along 
with chemicals, books, a glassworking shop, and another for instruments- 
seven full freight cars in all— to the Hoboken Port of Embarkation for ship- 
ment to France. Fisher obtained a written statement from the Chief of Staff, 
U.S. Army, that the shipment should be given a high priority. To accom- 
pany the laboratory overseas the Fisher Scientific Company furnished a glass 
blower, an instrument maker, a chief clerk, and a stock clerk. 33 

Meanwhile in France, Col. Amos A. Fries, head of the AEF Gas Serv- 
ice, 34 had obtained permission from the French Government to convert 
a former research laboratory for tuberculosis at Puteaux, near Paris, into 
a chemical warfare laboratory. In January 1918 Colonel Bacon, accom- 
panied by a small group of chemists, arrived from the United States to 
head the laboratory. Since it would take several months for the equipment 

33 Fisher interv. 

34 General Pershing established the Gas Service to supervise chemical warfare activity in the 
AEF. AEF GO 31, 3 Sep 17. 



from the United States to reach France, Colonel Bacon managed to obtain 
some laboratory supplies from French sources. Eventually other scientists 
arrived from the United States, so that the staff was to average between 
60 and 70 chemists, approximately 12 of whom were commissioned 
officers. In this group were several men who were or later became famous 
in the field of chemistry— Gilbert N. Lewis, of the University of Califor- 
nia, one of the world's outstanding physical chemists; Joel H. Hildebrand, 
a future president of the American Chemical Society; and Frederick G. 
Keyes, who became director of the research laboratory of physical chem- 
istry at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. 

The Paris Laboratory investigated a variety of chemical and physical 
problems having to do with toxic agents and protective devices, and also 
acted as a consulting laboratory for other nonchemical branches of the 
AEF. 35 For convenience the laboratory was divided into five divisions- 
Organic, Physicochemical, Mechanical, Control, and Miscellaneous. The 
organic chemists developed a systematic procedure for analyzing the con- 
tents of dud enemy chemical shells and of determining the agents present 
in contaminated water or earth. They synthesized possible war gases and 
searched for camouflage gases to simulate or conceal the characteristic 
odor of standard agents. For example, they learned that by adding butyl 
sulfide to it mustard gas gave out a strong skunklike odor; since much of 
the French countryside was infested by skunks the enemy was misled on 
the presence of gas. The physical chemists determined such important 
physical constants as density, vapor pressure, and rate of hydrolysis. The 
Control Section tested old and new gas mask canisters. The need for pro- 
tection against mustard was so urgent that the sections collaborated in 
developing antimustard salves, a field detector for mustard, and protective 
fabrics. The Miscellaneous Section worked on problems submitted by 
other branches of the AEF, such as the development of a special airplane 
propeller glue for the Air Service and the production of a gasproof pigeon 
container for the Signal Corps. 

Coupled to the Paris Laboratory was a field for experimental work and for 
training officers in gas warfare. Colonel Fries had asked for such an experi- 
mental field in December 1917. Receiving permission, he chose an area cov- 

35 (1) Col. Raymond F. Bacon, "The Work of the Technical Division, Chemical Warfare Serv- 
ice, AEF," Industrial and Engineering Chemistry, 11 (1919), 13-15. (2) Maj. W. A. Hamor and 
Col. R. F. Bacon, "A Letter from France," Industrial and Engineering Chemistry, 10 (1918), 495. 
(3) History of the Chemical Warfare Service, AEF Technical Division, Part I, General History. 
CWS, H-18. (4) History of the Chemical Warfare Service, AEF Technical Division, Part II, Paris 
Laboratory. CWS, H-19. 



ering twenty square miles near Chaumont, headquarters of the AEF. He then 
sent officers to Porton, England, to learn how the British had laid out their 
experimental field and were conducting tests. The AEF started construction 
in April 1918, and the first tests were made in June. In August the installa- 
tion was christened Hanlon Field in honor of 2d Lt. Joseph T. Hanlon of the 
First Gas Regiment, the first CWS officer killed in action. 

Hanlon Field ultimately had two projector ranges, an artillery range 
complete with trenches, and fifty-five buildings, including chemistry, pa- 
thology, and physiology laboratories, a shell opening plant, and a shell 
filling plant. 36 Among the projects carried out were the testing of Amer- 
ican equipment under battlefield conditions, examination of captured 
equipment, analysis of the chemical fillings in dud enemy shells, and 
physiological research. 37 From the viewpoint of organization, the Paris 
Laboratory and Hanlon Field were considered as the Technical Division 
of the AEF, Gas Service. 38 

The Centralization of Activities in the 
Chemical Warfare Service 

A year after American entrance into the war, the Bureau of Mines, 
Medical Department, Ordnance Department, Signal Corps, Corps of Engi- 
neers, and AEF were sharing the responsibility for chemical warfare. The 
War Department had made an attempt in October 1917 to co-ordinate 
the activity by creating a Gas Service of the Army, headed by an Engi- 
neer colonel, Charles C. Potter, and composed of Medical, Ordnance, and 
Chemical Service Section officers. The Gas Service could offer advice, but 
it had no authority to control research, policy, or production. The service 
could therefore not bring about the high degree of teamwork that the 
War Department wanted. 

Finally on 11 May 1918 the War Department placed Maj. Gen. 
William L. Sibert at the head of the Gas Service, and instructed him to 

36 Lt. Col, Joel H. Hildebrand, "The Organization and Work of Hanlon Field," Industrial and 
Engineering Chemistry, 11 (1919), 291-92. 

: " (1) History of the Chemical Warfare Service, AEF Technical Division, Part II, Hanlon Field. 
CWS, H-20. (2) Col. Raymond F. Bacon, "The Work of the Technical Division, Chemical War- 
fare Service, AEF." Industrial and Engineering Chemistry, 11 (1919), 13-15. (3) Medical Aspects 
of Gas Warfare, pp. 49-50. 

38 United States Army in the World War, 1917-1919 (Washington, 1948), vol. 15, pp. 300-302. 



draw up a plan for better co-ordination of chemical warfare. Sibert was 
certain that this could be done only by coalescing all men and facilities 
into one organization. He asked the War Department to transfer chem- 
ical warfare personnel from the Medical Department, Ordnance Depart- 
ment, Corps of Engineers, and Signal Corps to the Gas Service. There 
was no problem here. But Sibert also wanted the research organization of 
the Bureau of Mines, a request that was difficult for the War Depart- 
ment to fill. Sibert nevertheless persuaded Secretary of War Newton D. 
Baker that the move was necessary. Baker then attempted to convince 
President Wilson. Manning and his associates opposed the transfer vig- 
orously. 39 President Wilson was reluctant, but finally agreed that the 
exigencies of war necessitated the move; and on 25 June 1918, under au- 
thority of the Overman Act, he placed the research organization of the 
bureau under the War Department "for operation under the Director 
of Gas Service of the Army." 40 The War Department commissioned Bur- 
rell as a colonel, and gave other research leaders corresponding rank. The 
militarization of the research organization did not affect the assignments 
of the scientists. They continued their work at American University and 
other laboratories. 

On 28 June 1918 President Wilson approved Sibert's conception of a 
unified chemical warfare organization by directing the War Department 
to establish a Chemical Warfare Service in the National Army. 41 The 
new CWS included the Chemical Service Section of the Army, the 
research organization from the Bureau of Mines, and portions of the Ord- 
nance Department, Corps of Engineers, Signal Corps, and Medical Depart- 
ment. Sibert organized the service into nine divisions: European, Medical, 
Training, Research, Administration, Gas Offense Production, Gas Defense 
Production, Development, and Proving. 42 Of the nine divisions in the 
new CWS, six sprang wholly or in part from the chemical warfare 
research organization started by the Bureau of Mines. 

3! ' (1) Memo on Gas War Work, Origin and Progress of Work and Comments Relative to the 
Transfer of this Work to the War Dept. 3 Tun 18; (2) Memo on Conference held in the Office of 
the Secretary of War, . . . May 25, 1918, regarding Proposed Transfer of the War Gas Investiga- 
tions of the Bureau of Mines to the War Department. Both in War Gas Investigations, Bu of 

10 Wilson's Executive Order 2894, and a letter that he sent to Manning commending the Bu- 
reau of Mines, were widely reprinted. See, for example, Industrial and Engineering Chemistry. 10 
(1918), 654. 

41 WD GO 62, 28 Jun 18. 

42 Rpt of CWS, 1919, p. 3. 



Chemical Munitions 43 

Before the establishment of the CWS, responsibility for procuring and 
issuing chemical warfare items was divided between the Medical and Ord- 
nance Departments of the Army. The Medical Department was assigned 
responsibility for defensive items and the Ordnance Department for offen- 
sive material. The Ordnance mission included the procuring, filling, and 
testing of toxic gases. The Army, of course, had never had occasion to 
purchase or produce poison gas. Its first step,' therefore, was to choose 
the agents that would be used by the AEF. After evaluating the chem- 
icals that had been used by armies in Europe, the Bureau of Mines 
recommended chloropicrin, hydrogen cyanide, phosgene, and xylyl bromide 
to the Ordnance Department in July 1917. 44 A few months later Colonel 
Fries sent recommendations from France that chlorine, phosgene, chloro- 
picrin, bromoacetone, and mustard gas be procured. 45 

It was the intention of the War Department at the start of the war 
to arrange for the manufacture of toxic gases by commercial chemical 
companies under Ordnance Department supervision and to confine direct 
government activity to the filling of shells with toxic materials. 46 In the 
fall of 1917 the Ordnance Department set out to interest private industry 
in the manufacture of war gases and began to plan the erection of 
a shell filling plant near Edgewood, Md. 47 

Immediate responsibility for drawing up the plans was assigned to 
Capt. Edwin M. Chance, of the Trench Warfare Section, Gun Division of 
the Office of the Chief of Ordnance, then headed by Capt. E. J. W. Rags- 

4ri Unless otherwise indicated this section is based on the following: (1) Benedict Crowell, 
America's Munitions, 1917-1918 (Washington, 1919), pp. 395-410. (2) Lt. Col. William Mc- 
Pherson, An Historical Sketch of the Development of Edgewood Arsenal. 1 Feb 1919, pp. 290- 
344. CWS, H-169. (3) Report on Edgewood Arsenal January 1919. CW r S, H-168. (4) Lt. Col. 
Wilder D. Bancroft. History of the CWS in the United States. 31 May 1919, pp. 29-344. CWS, 
H-ll. Col. F. M. Dorsey. "The Development Division, Chemical Warfare Service, U.S.A.," In- 
dustrial and Engineering Chemistry. 11 (1919), 281-91. (6) Charles H. Herty, "Gas Offense in 
the United States A Record Achievement," Industrial and Engineering Chemistry. 11 (1919), 5-12. 

44 (1) Ltr, Manning to Brig Gen William Crozier. 20 July 19 1 T, War Gas Investigations. Bu 
of Mines. (2 ) Mustard gas. missing from this list, was not used until 12 July 1917, and the bureau 
did not know of the gas at the time. Later advice from abroad led to elimination of hydrogen 
cyanide. The recognition of the superior lachrymatory property of bromobenzylcyanide led to the 
abandonment of xylyl bromide. 

11 Fries and West, Chemical Warfare, pp. 100-102. 

AC ' Lt. Col. Edwin M. Chance, History of Edgewood Plants, p. 10. Colonel Chance submitted 
this report to the Assistant Secretary of War on 31 December 1918. See Ltr, Chance to Hist Off, 
4 Feb 54. 

47 This property was acquired by the government under a presidential proclamation of 16 Oc- 
tober 1917. It was at first called Gunpowder Neck Reservation and then Gunpowder Reservation. 
Later it took the name Edgewood Arsenal from the nearby village of Edgewood. 



Brig. Gen. Amos A. Fries, bead of 
the AEF Gas Service. (Pboto taken 
after July 1920.) 

dale. 48 Captain Chance had the ad- 
vice and assistance of Lt. Raoul E. 
Hankar of the French High Com- 
mission who supplied the plans of 
the French filling plant at Auber- 
villiers together with details on the 
properties of the gases to be filled. 
After careful examination or the 
data furnished by Lieutenant Hankar, 
Captain Chance concluded that the 
French methods were totally unsuited 
to American conditions, that the 
French production units were too 
small for production of good quality, 
and that their methods of handling 
the gases led to an unduly high 
casualty rate in French plants. 
Chance then decided to study the 
possibility of applying the methods 
J of the commercial bottling industry to a gas filling plant and he visited 
a number of works where milk, beer, and carbonated liquids were bottled. 
Convinced that commercial methods could be adapted to gas filling plants, 
he drew up plans accordingly. 4 ^ 

Erection of the first shell filling plant at Edgewood, Md., was begun 
in September 1917 and practically completed by the close of the year. It 
consisted of four filling buildings radiating from a central powerhouse at 
90-degree angles to each other. Each building was a complete unit in 
itself, w T ith individual gas handling rooms, mixing rooms, washing towers, 
and ventilating equipment. If one building would have to be shut down 
because of an accident or for other reasons, it would be possible to keep 
the remaining units in production. The units were so constructed that the 
fan discharges were separated by a distance of over 400 feet, a precaution 
which prevented the accumulation of a dangerous concentration of gases 
during plant operation. This shell filling plant, known as Filling Plant 
No. 1, was completed by January 1918 and put into immediate operation. 
In the spring of 1918 construction got underway on two similar plants, 
both of which were approximately 80 percent complete by November. In 

4S The Trench Warfare Section, Ordnance Department, was organized in April 1917. 
49 Chance, History of Edgewood Plants, p. 1. 


Plant at Edgewood Arsenal where filled shells were classified, tested for leaks, 
painted, and boxed for shipment. Livens drums, foreground, were painted with two 
white stripes to indicate they were filled with phosgene. 

addition, two grenade filling plants and an incendiary-drop-bomb plant 
were either completed or were nearing completion when the war ended. 

By the close of 1917 the War Department had come to the conclu- 
sion that the government would also have to erect its own manufacturing 
plants at Edgewood. The efforts of the Ordnance Department to interest 
the chemical industry in the manufacture of war gases had not proved 
successful because of the danger inherent in the manufacture of toxic 
materials, because industry lacked experience in the production of such 
materials, and because the toxic plants would serve no useful purpose 
after the war. During the unseasonably cold winter of 1917-18 a chloro- 
picrin plant and a phosgene plant were built. In April 1918 construction 
was begun on a large-scale mustard plant and in the next month on a 
chlorine plant. The chlorine plant, which when completed had two 50- 
ton units with a total capacity of 100 tons of liquid chlorine a day, was 
the largest plant of its kind in the United States at that time. These plants 
collectively were on 4 May 1918 designated "Edgewood Arsenal," an instal- 
lation of the Army Ordnance Department.* 

50 Ord Dept GO 7, 4 May 18. 



In the construction and operation of the plants at Edgewood the Ord- 
nance Department received valuable assistance from the Bureau of Mines 
and from representatives of the British and French Governments. 51 While 
this plant construction was going on at Edgewood, Ordnance continued to 
solicit the interest of private industry in the manufacture of toxic agents. 
The government decided to construct chemical plants at various points 
throughout the country and to urge the chemical companies to operate 
these plants. During the war a number of plants, including those oper- 
ated by the government and those operated by contractors, were erected. 
{Table 1) 

Table 1 — Plants and Projects of Edgewood Arsenal During World War I 

Plant Location 

Edgewood, Md 

Edgewood, Md 

Edgewood, Md 

Edgewood, Md 

Edgewood, Md 

Stamford, Conn 

Hastings-on-Hudson, N.Y 
Kingsport, Tenn 

Croyland, Pa 

Willoughby, Ohio 

Niagara Falls, N.Y 

Midland, Mich 

Bound Brook, N.J 

Charleston, W. Va 

Buffalo, N.Y 


Manufacture of chloropicrin . . . . 

Manufacture of phosgene 

Manufacture of mustard gas 

Manufacture of chlorine 

Manufacture of sulphur mono- 

Manufacture of chloropicrin .... 

Manufacture of mustard gas. . . . 

Manufacture of bromobenzyl- 

Manufacture of diphenylchlo- 

Manufacture of lewisite 

Manufacture of phosgene 

17 brine wells for bromine sup- 

Manufacture of phosgene 

Manufacture of sulphur mono- 
Manufacture of mustard gas. . . . 


Edgewood Arsenal. 
Edgewood Arsenal. 
Edgewood Arsenal. 
Edgewood Arsenal. 
Edgewood Arsenal. 

Edgewood Arsenal. 
Edgewood Arsenal. 
Edgewood Arsenal. 

Edgewood Arsenal. 

Edgewood Arsenal. 

Oldbury Electro-Chemical Co. 

Dow Chemical Co. 

Frank Hemingway, Inc. 
Charleston Chemical Co. 

National Aniline & Chemical 

When the Chemical Warfare Service was activated in June 1918, a Gas 
Offense Production Division, with headquarters in Baltimore, Md., was 

M Among those whose counsel was particularly valuable were Captain Hankar of the French 
High Commission, mentioned previously; W. Gordon Carey and T. D. Gregory, representatives of 
English firms engaged in the manufacture of toxic gases; Maj. G. M. Brightman and Lt. Col. Sam- 
uel J. M. Auld of the British Army. See acknowledgment in McPherson. An Historical Sketch of 
Edgewood Arsenal. 



set up. This division, headed by Col. William H. Walker, former com- 
manding officer of Edgewood Arsenal, took over from Ordnance the func- 
tion of supervising the "production of toxic gases and other substances 
used offensively in gas warfare. " 52 Edgewood Arsenal and its subsidiary 
plants were included in Colonel Walker's command. 

By November 1918, the United States was manufacturing almost as 
much gas as England and France combined and nearly four times as much 
as Germany, which at the start of the war had led all other nations in 
the field of chemistry.^ 3 The manufacture and filling of gas at Edgewood 
Arsenal was carried out by the military because others lacked experience 
with that type of operation. A peak employment of over 7,000 officers 
and enlisted men was reached at Edgewood during the war. Government 
representatives were stationed at the various plants operated by the con- 
tractors, but civilians with some experience in the chemical industry were 
employed in the actual operation of those plants. 

The plans for filling gas shells and shipping them across the ocean 
did not work out as expected. The chief difficulty was the extreme short- 
age of shell boosters.^ 4 At no time during the war did the supply 
of boosters come near meeting the demand. Consequently, the United 
States resorted to ocean shipment of bulk toxics, with more than 3,500 
tons going to Europe. In England and France this gas was put into Allied 
shells and was eventually used against the enemy. 

The implements which the U.S. Army employed to release gas on the 
enemy were obtained in great part from the Allies, particularly the Brit- 
ish. These munitions included cylinders from which gas was dispersed and 
Livens projectors. Not until shortly before the armistice were these items 
received in the theater from the United States. 55 The delay was due in 
large part to the time required to get noncommercial items of this type 
into satisfactory production. 

Gas Defense Equipment 56 

As early as the fall of 1915 the War Department delegated the task 
of designing, developing, and procuring gas masks to the Medical Depart- 

^Rptof CWS, 1918, p. 4. 
Rn Rpt of CWS, 1919, p. 8. 

54 The booster, an explosive-filled metallic tube, was used as a burster to crack open the gas 
shell and free the gas. 

55 Fries and West, Chemical Warfare, p. 78. 

r ' 6 Unless otherwise indicated this section is based on the following: (1) Benedict Crowell. 
Americas Munitions, pp. 410-31. (2) Bancroft, History CWS in the United States, pp. 85-103. 
(3) George A. Burrell, "The Research Division, Chemical W'arfare Service, U.S.A.," Industrial 



ment. Early in 1917 the Bureau of Mines offered its assistance in research 
and development, an offer which the Medical Department gratefully 
accepted. The bureau designed and tested masks in its own laboratories 
and co-operated with the following universities in experiments on absorb- 
ents for gas mask canisters: The Johns Hopkins University, the University 
of California, Princeton University, Wesley an University, and the Carnegie 
Institute of Technology. In conjunction with the Bureau of Chemistry of the 
U.S. Department of Agriculture, the National Carbon Co., the National 
Lamp Works of the General Electric Co., as well as the University of 
Chicago, the bureau tested charcoal obtained from different woods, nuts, 
and seeds, and began to develop large-scale processes for carbonizing 
raw materials and activating chemicals. In the summer of 1917 much of 
this research and development work was transferred to the Medical 
Department. Bradley Dewey, who was then working with the Bureau 
of Mines, was commissioned in the Medical Department and put in 
diarge of the gas mask program. Colonel Dewey became chief of the 
Gas Defense Production Division of the CWS upon its activation in 
June 1918. 

The Medical Department received its first procurement directive for 
gas masks in May 1917. Twenty-five thousand were needed at once, the 
War Department stated, to equip General Pershing's First Division, then 
about to sail overseas. At the same time the Medical Department was 
directed to supply the armed forces with 1,100,000 masks by 30 June 1918. 

Maj. L. P. Williamson of The Surgeon General's Office turned to the 
Bureau of Mines for assistance in filling the order for the first 25,000 masks. 
The bureau sought out and obtained the services of various manufacturers. 
The facepieces, for example, were manufactured by the B. F. Goodrich Co. 
of Akron and the canisters by the American Can Co. of Brooklyn. American 
Can also had the contract for assembling the masks. By June 1917 over 20,000 
of the masks were at sea, bound for France, and some 5,000 followed shortly 
thereafter. The masks proved unsatisfactory, primarily because they did not 
protect the wearer against chloropicrin, which was beginning to be widely 
used. Since the British and French had more than enough masks, they readily 

and Engineering Chemistry, 11 (1919), 93-104. (4) Bradley Dewey, "Production of Gas Defense 
Hquipment for the Army," Industrial and Engineering Chemistry. 11 (1919), 185-97. (5) Dorsey, 
"The Development Division, Chemical Warfare Service, U.S.A.," pp. 281-91- (6) A. C. Fieldner 
and A. F. Benton, History of the Gas Mask Research Section, Research Division, Chemical War- 
fare Service, U.S.A. CWS, H-146. (7) Warren K. Lewis, "Protective Work in the Research Division, 
Chemical Warfare Service, in the War/' Chemical Warfare Bulletin 18 (April 1932) pp. 1113-19 
(a publication prepared by the CWS School, formerly Chemical Warfare). 



supplied the American First Division with all it needed. 57 Although the 25,- 
000 American masks were not used the experience resulted in improvement 
in the design of the mask. 

The policy of obtaining masks exclusively through contract with private 
industry was continued throughout 1917. Contracts for procuring compo- 
nents of the mask were awarded to various manufacturers throughout the 
country, while a contract for assembling the parts into complete masks went 
to the Hero Manufacturing Co. of Philadelphia in the fall of 1917. From 
then until the end of the war Hero was the sole private contractor assem- 
bling masks. During the last months of 1917 transportation difficulties 
were aggravated by excessive snowfalls and the company experienced great 
delay in getting components from such points as Boston and Akron to 
Philadelphia. "This was doubtless an important factor in the Hero's failure 
to attain scheduled production. 

As early as mid-November 1917 the War Department had concluded 
that in order to meet the gas mask requirements for American troops being 
sent to France, as well as to insure the rigid standards demanded in this 
item of equipment, the government would have to construct its own gas 
mask factory. The site for the government factory was Long Island City, 
New York, where during the early months of 1918 the government took 
over a group of five large buildings and converted them into a factory. 58 
A dollar-a-year man, Ralph R. Richardson of Chicago, was named plant 
manager with a lieutenant colonel as his assistant. The various depart- 
ments in the plant were headed by either military or civilian personnel. 
Some 12,000 workers, of whom 8,500 were women, were at one time em- 
ployed in the plant. 

The government did not alter its plans of procuring masks from pri- 
vate industry after establishing the Long Island City plant, but on the 
contrary made every effort to step up production from private sources. The 
extent of private production during the war is indicated by the fact that 
the Gas Defense Division of the CWS at one time supervised contracts 
in approximately 600 factories extending from Boston to San Francisco. 59 

r ' 7 This was but the beginning of American procurement of British and French masks in the 
AEF. Colonel Fries, upon assuming command of the Gas Service, AEF, in August 1917, began 
placing orders with the British and French in anticipation of the arrival of large numbers of Amer- 
ican troops. About 200,000 masks were obtained from the French and not less than 600,000 from 
the British. See Amos A. Fries : History of Chemical Warfare Service in France, 1919, pp. 4, 9. 

RK The official directive for the activation of the government gas mask plant was Memo SW for 
SG. 20 Nov 17. sub: Establishment of Government Operated Plant for Gas Mask Manufacture. 
CWS, H-175. 

59 Rpt of CWS, 1919, p. 50. 


Women Workers in Gas Mask Factory, Long Island City, New York. 

Since the Army had no previous experience with gas masks, the con- 
tractors, as well as government officials supervising the contracts, had to 
learn largely through trial and error. One of the most baffling procure- 
ment problems in connection with the manufacture of the gas mask was 
that of obtaining sufficient charcoal for the canisters of the masks. Early 
in the war the War Department undertook a concerted drive to speed the 
shipment of coconut shells, from which the charcoal was made, from Cey- 
lon, India, and other oriental countries to the Philippine Islands. There a 
government charcoal plant was erected which during 1917-18 produced 
1,300 tons of coconut shell charcoal; 300 tons of this had been shipped 
to the United States by November 1918, but that amount was by no means 
sufficient to meet the demand. In the effort to find other sources of sup- 
ply, the Gas Defense Division of the CWS sent agents to Mexico and 
to Central and South America to investigate ways of expediting the 
importation of coconuts into the United States. At the same time possi- 
ble substitutes for the coconut shell were investigated. It was found that the 
corozo nut, the fruit of the Manaca palm tree, was the most suitable sub- 
stitute and thousands of tons of these nuts were shipped into this country. 

A colorful touch was lent to the search for carbon materials for the gas 



mask in September 1918 when a nut gathering campaign was undertaken 
throughout the United States. The Red Cross, the Department of Agricul- 
ture, the Food Administration, and the Boy Scouts were among the groups 
sponsoring this venture. Two motion picture reels depicting the urgent need 
for charcoal were made and given wide circulation. By the close of the war 
on 11 November an estimated 4,000 tons of nut shells were en route to 
the great carbon plant at Astoria on Long Island. 

This carbon plant was established in 1917 to activate charcoal, an even 
more difficult problem than the making of the charcoal itself. 60 The acti- 
vation had to be done in facilities permitting fine control of temperature, 
and the government spent over $1,000,000 in constructing the Astoria plant. 
This facility was erected adjacent to the large gas works of the Astoria 
Light, Heat, and Power Co., at the junction of the East River and Long 
Island Sound, the point known as Hell Gate. 

The first gas masks of export standard were sent overseas in January 
1918, although not until May were they shipped in large numbers. 61 By 
November some 4 million masks had been shipped, together with consid- 

erable quantities of other gas defense items. {Table 2) Among these were 
bleaching powder, used to decontaminate gassed areas; extra antidimming, 
used to prevent moisture from condensing on gas mask eyepieces; sag 
paste, a protective ointment; dugout blankets, which were hung at the 
doors of dugouts as a protective device; dugout-blanket oil, a special heavy 
oil used to impregnate cotton blankets; warning devices, such as Klaxon 
horns and watchmen's rattles; and trench fans, to draw gases out of dug- 
outs and trenches. 

Field Testing of Chemical Munitions 

While drawing up plans for a shell filling plant in the fall of 1917, 
the Ordnance Department began to consider the establishment of a prov- 
ing ground where gas shells could be tested under simulated battle condi- 
tions. The Bureau of Mines co-operated by providing a competent scientist, 
William S. Bacon of the Yale section, to take charge of the program. 62 

60 Activated charcoal is a specially treated, extremely porous charcoal which is very effective in 
absorbing chemical agents. 

61 Fries, History of Chemical Warfare Service in France, p. 9- 

62 (1) Bancroft, History of the CWS in the United States, pp. 345-60. (2) Lt. Col. William S. 
Bacon, "The Proving Division, Chemical Warfare Service, USA," Industrial and Engineering 
Chemistry, 11 (1919), 513-16. (3) History of the Proving Division, Chemical Warfare Service. 
CWS, H-70. 



Table 2 — Gas-Defense Items Shipped Overseas From June 1917 to No- 
vember 1918 



Respirators (Gas Masks) 

Extra Canisters 

Horse Masks 

Bleaching Powder 

Extra Antidimming. . . . 

Sag Paste 

Dugout Blankets 

Dugout-Blanket Oil 

Warning Devices 

Trench Fans 

3, 938, 808 

1, 805,076 
351, 270 


2, 855, 776 

19, 620 

Source: This table appears in Annual Report of the Director, CWS 1919, p. 51, and in Crowell, America's Munitions, 
p. 431. 

The British, who maintained a chemical proving ground at Porton, Eng- 
land, contributed the services of Maj. H. R. LeSueur, who helped lay out 
the grounds and organize the tests. 63 

The Ordnance Department started construction of a proving ground 
at Edgewood near the shell filling plant in January 1918. A month later 
the department stopped work at Edgewood because it was felt that the 
location was not sufficiently isolated and started anew in the pine forests 
near Lakehurst, NJ. 

At Lakehurst, Ordnance constructed ranges, impact areas, laboratories, 
magazines, gun emplacements, observation towers, animal houses, barracks, 
and other buildings necessary for successful operation of a proving ground. 
To determine the quantity of gas present after explosion of a shell, Ord- 
nance laid out two lines of trenches with dugouts and designed an auto- 
matic sampling apparatus to collect gas laden air in glass bottles located 
within the area. 

The proving ground was manned by Medical, Ordnance, and Quarter- 
master officers and men. Tests were carried out jointly by chemists, phys- 
iologists, and meteorologists. The first gas shells fired in the United States 
were discharged at Lakehurst on 25 April 1918. Thereafter firing trials 
were made to determine the extent of decomposition of toxic agents dur- 
ing the explosion of shells, to ascertain the relative effectiveness and per- 

6:1 Maj H. R. LeSueur, British Gas Warfare Mission to the USA, Section VII, Work of the 
Lakehurst Experimental Station. CWS, H-6. 



sistency of mustard, to find the number of shells necessary to build up a 
concentration of gas in a given area, to test experimental shells, and to 
test representative samples from the production line. 


With the coming of peace in November 1918, the industrial and col- 
legiate laboratories assisting the CWS dropped war projects and returned 
to their normal scientific research. At American University the volume of 
research subsided as the staff of more than twelve hundred technical men, 
among whom were many of the finest chemists in the United States, 
dwindled away until only a handful were left. The dismemberment of the 
service proceeded so rapidly that by 30 June 1919, 97 percent of its mili- 
tary personnel had been demobilized. 64 In a short time the CWS would 
have disappeared completely had not Congress on 11 July 1919 ordered 
the War Department to retain the service as an independent branch of 
the Army for another year. 65 Under the National Defense Act of 1920 the 
CWS became a permanent branch of the Army. 66 

For several months after the war the CWS retained the wide authority 
granted by the War Department in 1918 to carry on "all investigation 
and research work in connection with gas warfare." 67 In reality this meant 
little because the small staff could not cope with all projects relevant to 
chemical warfare. The only projects carried on were the development of 
boosters for gas and smoke shells, and the determination of bursting 
charges. 68 Shortly after Congress extended the life of the CWS in July 
1919, the War Department issued the first peacetime instructions concern- 
ing research and development. The Department did not insist that the 
Chief keep up the wartime level of research and development, but it did 
require him to maintain a "competent body of chemical warfare specialists 
with facilities for continuous research and experimentation," and to keep 
"in touch with civilian agencies for chemical research and chemical indus- 
tries capable of being converted for the production of wartime material." 69 

64 Rpt of CWS, 1920, p. 13. 

65 (1) 41 U.S. Statutes at Large ch. IV p. 219. (2) WD Bull No 23, 19 Jul 19. 
6,5 P.L. 242, 66th Cong., Sec 12a. 

67 WD GO 62, 28 Jun 18. 

68 Rpt of CWS, 1920, pp. 23-24. 

89 Instructions from the War Department to the Chief Chemical Officer, 28 Nov 19. Cited in 
Rpt of CWS, 1920, p. 5. — 



There was little else that the CWS could have done at this time even had 
it desired. The government had returned American University to the trus- 
tees, and the Research Division of the CWS was busy preparing new lab- 
oratories at Edgewood Arsenal and transferring equipment and records. 
CWS scientists, uncertain of their future, were not disposed to remain, so 
that between 1 July and 1 November 1919 there was only an average of 
eighteen technical men to keep the work alive. 70 

The central gas mask factory at Long Island City was demobilized after 
the war. This was done on a gradual basis, each employee being discharged 
only after he had been placed in other civilian employment. 71 A second 
demobilization project was the termination of over twelve hundred formal 
contracts and over fifty informal contracts. By 1 July 1920 all CWS for- 
mal contracts and over 98 percent of the informal contracts had been 
settled. 72 

More time consuming was the sale of the surplus chemical plants 
and surplus items of chemical warfare equipment and materiel. By 1 July 
1920 the plants had either been sold or transferred to other government 
bureaus, and by that time also great quantities of surplus materiel had 
been sold. 73 But disposition of some World War I surplus property con- 
tinued into 1925. 74 

Certain materiel that might prove useful in peacetime was not declared 
surplus, notably the gas mask. Planners realized that a number of masks 
would be needed for training purposes in peacetime as well as for war 
reserve. Not only would World War I masks have to be reconditioned, 
but it would also be necessary to manufacture improved masks during the 
peacetime years. Thus within a year after the signing of the armistice it 
was decided that a government-owned, government-operated gas mask fac- 
tory would be built at Edgewood Arsenal, to be equipped with machin- 
ery used in the Long Island City plant. 75 

Much of this machinery had been sold as surplus after the war and 
the remainder shipped for storage to the government plant at Hastings- 
on-Hudson, N.Y. In late 1919 and early 1920 this machinery was trans- 
ferred to Edgewood, where it was installed in the new gas mask factory. 

70 Ibid., p. 29. 

71 Rpt of CWS, 1919, p- 51. 
"Rpt of CWS, 1920, p. 16. 

73 Rpt of CWS, 1920, p. 15. 

74 Rpt of CWS, 1920, p. 17. 

75 Rpt of CWS, 1920, p. 30. 



A more difficult problem was that of securing operators to run the machin- 
ery, for although a number of the supervisors from the Long Island plant 
came to Edgewood very few of the operators did. Consequently, it was 
necessary to train new operators, a process which required a period of 
about six months. 76 The gas mask factory at Edgewood reconditioned 
approximately one half million World War I masks and produced 120,000 
new masks in the years 1920-21. 77 

With the armistice the staff of the proving ground was quickly demo- 
bilized. In November 1919 the CWS established an officers' training school 
at Lakehurst, where shortly afterwards the First Gas Regiment was stationed. 
In the spring of 1920 the service resumed testing operations. 78 

During the twenty months in which the United States was involved 
in World War I, the Bureau of Mines and the Army built up the largest 
organization of scientists ever assembled in this country, perhaps in the 
world. The volume of research carried on by these scientists was tremen- 
dous and their contributions notable, 79 One group, headed by Capt. Win- 
ford Lee Lewis, of Northwestern University, discovered lewisite and an- 
other group under Maj. Roger Adams, of the University of Illinois, pro- 
duced adamsite. Some scientists carried on extensive research on protective 
equipment and chemical warfare weapons. In medical research, physiolo- 
gists studied the reaction of chemical agents upon the body, so that meth- 
ods of treatment could be devised. 

When the War Department launched the program to produce gas war- 
fare munitions, neither the military establishment nor American industry 
had had any experience in manufacturing gas warfare items. Under these 
conditions it is surprising that so much gas warfare equipment was manu- 
factured and that such a large portion of it was delivered to the theater 
by the close of the war. 

Yet the amount of such equipment reaching France was only a frac- 
tion of what the troops needed and the U.S. Army therefore had to rely 
on the French and the British to fill the bulk of its needs. This situation 
was not confined to gas warfare items by any means; throughout 1917 and 
1918, the AEF depended upon the French and British for almost every 

76 Rpt of CWS, 1921, p. 23. 

77 (1) Rptof CWS, 1920, p. 31. (2) Rpc of CWS, 1921, p. 24. 

78 (1) Rpt of CWS, 1920, pp. 39-40. (2) Annual Report, Edgewood Arsenal, Aid. and Lake- 
burst Proving Ground, Lakehurst, NJ. FY 1921, pp. 26-28. CWS 314.7 Early CWS History File. 

79 A partial report on the work of the scientists is the 50-volume series of chemical warfare 
monographs completed in 1919. 



Ordnance item except rifles and small arms ammunition. 80 The implica- 
tions of this experience were not lost on the War Department or on the 
Congress, and in the 1920 revision of the National Defense Act provision 
was made against future emergencies through the inauguration of a system of 
industrial mobilization planning. 

80 Constance McLaughlin Green, Harry C. Thomson, and Peter C. Roots, The Ordnance De- 
partment: Planning Munitions for War, UNITED STATES ARMY IN WORLD WAR II 
(Washington, 1955), p. 24. 


Research and Development in 
Peace and War 

Chemical warfare research and development dipped to its lowest point 
at the end of 1919. At this time the service was still a temporary war- 
time organization, with no guarantee that Congress would pass legislation 
making it a permanent branch of the Army. But word finally filtered down 
to Brig. Gen. Amos A. Fries, who had succeeded General Sibert as chief 
on 28 February 1920, that the legislators would probably continue the CWS, 
and Fries began to rebuild its organization. He revamped the Office of 
the Chief in Washington, establishing a Technical Division to act as his 
staff in matters concerning research and development. 1 A year later he 
added a Medical Division, headed by an officer from the Medical Depart- 
ment, to supervise medical investigations relating to chemical warfare and 
to act as liaison with the Public Health Service, the Veterans' Bureau, and 
the Army and Navy Medical Departments. 2 

Since the CWS had been formed as a service organization to all other 
branches of the Army, close liaison with them was essential in order to 
meet their requirements. To fulfill this function General Fries established 
the Chemical Warfare Technical Committee (CWTC) in March 1920, com- 
posed of officers of the CWS and of all combatant branches interested in 
chemical munitions. 3 After the CWTC was formed its duties were ex- 

1 (1) Rpt of CWS, 1920, p. 5. (2) The responsibilities of the Technical Division are given in 
Pamphlet, Organization of the Office of the Chief of Chemical Warfare Service, 7 Nov 21, pp. 5- 
7. CWS 314.7 Early CWS History File. 

2 The responsibilities of the Medical Division are given in: (1) Pamphlet, Organization of OC 
CWS, p. 7. (2) Rpt of CWS, 1921, pp. 13-14. 

3 OC CWS SO 74, 31 Mar 20. 



panded to include the preparation of the project program for chemical 
warfare materiel. To handle the development of materiel intended for use 
by CWS troops only, General Fries set up a similar group composed of 
CWS personnel and called the Chemical Warfare Branch Committee. 

To the American Chemical Society, which had provided an advisory 
committee to assist the CWS during the war, General Fries went with 
a request for another committee to consult with him on scientific matters. 
The society appointed a group of outstanding chemists who met periodi- 
cally with General Fries and with later chiefs to discuss chemical warfare 
and to recommend promising lines of research, changes in organizational 
structure, and possible solutions to vexing chemical warfare problems. 4 
Through this organization the CWS had access to the best minds in 
American chemistry. 

In reorganizing Edgewood Arsenal, General Fries provided for two 
technical groups: the Chemical Research and Development Division (later 
the Chemical Division) to investigate smokes, incendiaries, and toxic agents; 
and the Mechanical and Electrical Research and Development Division 
(later, the Mechanical Division) to design munitions and masks. 5 In 1921, 
when the War Department ordered the CWS to remove its wartime prov- 
ing ground from Lakehurst, N.J., General Fries set up a Proof Depart- 
ment at Edgewood. ^ The following year he completed the basic technical 
organization at the arsenal by adding a Medical Research Division to 
determine the toxicological and physiological action of chemical com- 
pounds, to develop methods of treating chemical warfare casualties, and 
to instruct officers in the medical aspects of chemical warfare. 

Fries kept the Chemical and Mechanical Divisions and the Proof 
Department at Edgewood in the normal command channels, but because 
of the highly technical nature of their work he placed them under a Techni- 
cal Director, the first of whom was Dr. James E. Mills, appointed in April 
1921. 7 The Medical Research Division, on the other hand, remained under 
an officer of the Medical Department. 

General Fries did not alter the research organization for several years, 

* ( 1 ) The original members of the ACS advisory council are listed in Rpt of CWS ; 1920, p. 
18. (2) For the history of che advisory council see Carl B. Marquand, The American Chemical 
Society Committee and its Relation to the Chemical Corps, 1955. CWS 314.7 ACS File. 
3 Rpt of CWS, 1920, p. 26. 

6 (1) Rpt of CWS, 1921, pp. 29-31. (2) Annual Report, Edgewood Arsenal, Edgewood, Md., 
and Lakehurst Proving Ground, Lakehurst, N.J., 1921, pp. 7-8, 26-28. 

7 (1) Rpt of CWS, 1921, p. 17. (2) A brief account of James E. Mills may be found in "Au 
Revoir, Dr. Mills," Chemical Warfare Bulletin 15 (July 1929), 606-07. 



but in the meantime he established a Chemical Warfare Board, which came 
to play a part in the technical program. The board, composed of seven 
officers, was created in 1923 for the purpose of outlining broad policies 
and shaping them in definite form for the chief chemical officer. 8 In 
1926 Fries reorganized the board, reduced its membership to four officers, 
and stationed it at Edgewood Arsenal. 9 A primary function of the board 
now was to study and co-ordinate the technical developments of the CWS 
with tactical doctrines and methods. 10 In carrying out its mission the board 
conducted or supervised service tests of equipment used by chemical 
troops and studied proposed projects before they were acted upon by the 
Chemical Warfare Technical Committee. 11 

With the addition of the board to the other technical agencies, which 
included the medical and technical staffs in the Office of the Chief, the 
laboratories and shops at Edgewood Arsenal, the CWTC, and the Ameri- 
can Chemical Society advisory committee, the basic research and develop- 
ment organization of the CWS was complete. The organizational struc- 
ture, however, still did not satisfy General Fries. Edgewood Arsenal had 
grown and the projects had increased since 1920, bringing a certain amount 
of unwieldiness in operations. In the autumn of 1928 he divided the three 
technical divisions, Chemical, Mechanical, and Medical, into six divisions- 
Research, Munitions Development, Protective Development, Engineering, 
Medical, and Information. Each division, in turn, was made up of several 
departments. 12 The Research Division consisted of an Organic Depart- 
ment, which synthesized new compounds and investigated manufacturing 
processes on a small scale; a Physical Department, which made fundamen- 
tal studies of smokes, charcoal, and filtration; and an Analytical Depart- 
ment, which performed routine analyses and identified new substances. 
The Medical Division had two branches: a Toxicol ogical Department, 
which determined the toxicity of substances and conducted fundamental 
research on toxicity; and a Medical Department, which studied physiologi- 
cal action and mechanism of chemical warfare agents and developed first- 

8 OC CWS SO 19, 21 May 23. 

9 OC CWS SO 59, 19 Nov 26. 

10 AR 50-10, 3 Jan 27. 

11 (1) "The Chemical Warfare Board," Chemical Warfare Bulletin 12 (December 1926), p. 1. 
(2) Rpt of CWS, 1928, p. 20. (3) Ltr, Maj E. Montgomery to C CWS, 5 Jan 27, sub: Procedure 
in Development, Test and Adoption of Chemical Warfare Materiel, with 3 Inds. Edgewood Ar- 
senal (EA) 400.112/2. Copy in CWS 314.7 Early CWS History File. 

12 (1) Capt Maurice E. Barker, 'The Technical Divisions, Edgewood Arsenal," Chemical War- 
fare Bulletin 15 (July 1929), 607-10. (2) CWS News Letter, no. 1, 1 Jan 29, pp. 1-2. Technical 
Library, A CmlC, Md. (3) For charts see Rpt of CWS, 1931 (secret supplement). 



aid treatment. The Munitions Development Division consisted of a Muni- 
tions Department, which developed grenades, bombs, candles, and shells; 
a Weapons Department, which developed mortars, Livens projectors, large- 
area smoke screen generators, airplane spray tanks, and gas cylinders; and 
a Plants Department which developed, constructed, and operated pilot 
plants and full-scale toxic and impregnite plants. The Information Divi- 
sion had three units— a Technical Files Department to handle files and 
prepare monographs, a Technical Library Department, and an Editorial 
Department to edit research and development reports. The Protective 
Development Division consisted of a Protective Clothing Department, 
which developed protective clothing and methods of decontamination; a 
Gas Mask Department; and a Collective Protection Department. The 
Engineering Division was divided into a Design Department, which pre- 
pared designs, drafts, and specifications; a Physical Testing Department, 
which conducted physical tests on materials; a Shops and Loading Depart- 
ment, in charge of machine shops and surveillance facilities; the Field Test- 
ing Department, which conducted all tests in the field, and a Photography 
Department. After the reorganization of 1928, the technical structure of 
the CWS remained much the same until World War II. 

The Peacetime Scientific Program 

At the time of the Congressional action of 1920, service scientists had 
no official project program. The CWTC several months earlier had drawn 
up a list of projects which General Fries submitted to the War Depart- 
ment, and while the Secretary of War was studying the matter, scientists 
at Edgewood and Lakehurst continued to work on problems that had been 
left unfinished at American University. In December 1920 the Secretary 
approved Fries' program, under which scientists were to concentrate on 
perfecting unsatisfactory wartime implements and then, as salvage opera- 
tions were completed, to turn to the investigation of new items. In this 
way Fries planned to improve the inferior chemical warfare items that had 
been produced during war, thus saving the cost of new equipment and 
at the same time providing the Army with a reserve of chemical warfare 
supplies for training and emergency use. By the end of fiscal year 1921 
the salvage operations were largely completed and a number of new proj- 
ects had been started. 13 

13 Rpt of CWS, 1921. 



During the period from 1920 to 1940 the CWS initiated approximately 
700 projects for the Army, the Navy, and for civilian organizations. The 
military subjects encompassed gas masks, protective clothing, protective 
ointments, incendiary materials, mortars, airplane spray tanks, chemical cyl- 
inders, chemical artillery shells, colored smoke, chemical grenades, toxico- 
logical studies, meteorology, analytical methods, pilot plants, full-scale 
plants, filling plants, and medical studies. 

In the 1920's the CWS placed emphasis on long-range projects. 14 Dur- 
ing these years Capt. Louis M. McBride, Dr, G. S. Maxwell, and their 
co-workers made radical improvements in the mortar, greatly increasing 
its range and accuracy. Dr. James E. Mills applied the theory of probabil- 
ity to the study of toxic compounds, and pointed the way to better methods 
of determining toxicities. Dr. Leo Finkelstein conducted fundamental re- 
search on the filtration of aerosols to improve the smoke retaining prop- 
erties of gas mask canisters. 

In the 1930 ? s the CWS de-emphasized long-range research and concen- 
trated on filling the gaps in chemical warfare equipment. This involved 
the development of new items, the redesigning of chemical plants to con- 
form to modern engineering practice, and the drawing of specifications 
needed from the procurement of materiel. 

While the CWS placed a large number of projects on its technical 
program, the research organization itself was not large. The service re- 
ceived very small appropriations from Congress (from 1923 to 1926, less 
than a million dollars a year; from 1927 to 1938, less than two million; 
in 1939 and 1940, between two and three million), and thus it was se- 
verely limited in the funds it could spend on research and development. 15 
As a consequence some of the projects received only a few hundred dol- 
lars, with the average only a few thousand. 

Although the primary purpose of the CWS was to produce implements 
of war, the service took every opportunity to volunteer its facilities and 
staff to assist civilian groups in carrying out special scientific studies. 
Among these projects were: Rat Extermination (1921), War Gases as In- 
secticides (co-operative project with the Bureau of Entomology, 1922), 
Apparatus for Toxicological Experiments (co-operative project with the 
Bureau of Entomology, 1922), Extermination of Locusts (co-operative 
project with the Philippine Islands Department of Agriculture, 1923), Ex- 

14 Duncan MacRae, "The Scientific Approach to Military Problems/' Armed Forces Chemical 
Journal, V (January 195 2), 26-27. 

15 Brophy and Vishet ^Organizing for War, ch. T] 


termination of Field Rats (co-operative project with the Hawaii Sugar 
Planters' Association, 1923), co-operative project with the Biological Sur- 
vey (1923), Marine Piling Investigation (1923), and Boll Weevil Investi- 
gations (1920-27). These projects were generally financed by Congress or 
some agency of the government since the CWS did not have funds to 
underwrite extracurricular research. 16 

The longest and most important of these investigations was the search 
for a boll weevil insecticide. Shortly after World War I, the weevil seri- 
ously menaced cotton crops in the South. In July 1920 the CWS made 
arrangements to test toxic war agents as insecticides on the farm of the 
State Board of Entomology, Baxley, Ga. While the agents destroyed the 
weevils, they also injured the cotton. Chemists then prepared a series of 
compounds and mixtures which they tested at Tallulah, La.; the South 
Carolina Experiment Station, Clemson College, Clemson, S.C.; the Florida 
Experiment Station, Gainesville; Experiment, Georgia; and Auburn, Ala. 
Out of thousands of poisonous mixtures, the CWS found several that could 
be produced commercially and were acceptable to the farmer. 17 

Another investigation of considerable importance concerned the pro- 
tection of submerged wooden pilings against marine borers. The Commit- 
tee on Marine Piling Investigation of the Division of Engineering and 
Industrial Research, National Research Council, arranged for the Depart- 
ment of Commerce, the Bureau of Yards and Docks, and the Quartermaster 
Corps to pay for the cost of the work. The CWS carried out laboratory 
experiments at Edgewood Arsenal and at the Bureau of Fisheries, at Beau- 
fort, N.C., to find poisons that would kill or repel shipworms, and other 
borers. Then it soaked sections of railroad ties with these poisons, and 
exposed them to borers in the harbor at Beaufort and at Pearl Harbor. 
Through this procedure, the service found a number of substances for treat- 
ing wood that was to be submerged under water. 18 

The CWS and the Public Health Service co-operated in developing an 
alarm for deadly hydrogen cyanide fumigating gas. They did this by add- 

16 Resumes of nonmilitary research may be found in: (1) Maj. Gen. Amos A. Fries, "By-Prod- 
ucts of Chemical Warfare," Industrial and Engineering Chemistry, 20 (1928), 1079-84. (2) Carl 
B. Marquand, "Contributions To Better Living From Chemical Corps Research," Journal of Chem- 
ical Education, 34 (1957), 532-35. 

17 (1) H. W. Walker, "A Brief Resume of the CWS Boll Weevil Investigation/' Chemical 
Warfare Bulletin 13 (December 1927), 231-37. (2) James E. Mills and H. W. Walker, Chem- 
ical Warfare Service Boll Weevil Investigation. EACD 485, Aug 1928. 

18 (1) William G. Atwood and A. A.Johnson, Marine Structures; Their Deterioration and 
Preservation (Washington: National Research Council, 1924), pp. 165-220. (2) Maj. Gen. Amos 
A. Fries, "Summary of Marine Piling Investigation," Military Engineer, 17 (1925), 237-39- 



ing tear gas to the odorless cyanide. The tear gas would quickly drive away 
anyone who might accidentally enter an area under fumigation. 19 For the 
Navy the CWS worked on a special paint to prevent barnacles and other 
marine growths from fouling the bottoms of ships. 20 CWS protection ex- 
perts also developed ammonia masks for workmen in ice plants, carbon 
monoxide masks for industrial firms, and fumigation masks for the Public 
Health Service. After a disastrous fire at the Cleveland Hospital Clinic on 
15 May 1929, in which many of the 125 dead were suffocated by gases 
from burning X-ray film, the CWS studied the factors involved in the com- 
bustion of film and then widely publicized the danger of improper storage 
conditions. 21 

The value of this nonmilitary research could not be measured in dol- 
lars, but men within the CWS felt that its peacetime benefits to the nation 
were greater than the cost of its program. 

Development Procedure 

All research and development carried on by the CWS, whether for ci- 
vilian or military purposes, and along chemical or mechanical lines, dif- 
fered from academic research in that it aimed at definite, practical goals 
rather than the discovery of new scientific principles. In this sense it was 
akin to industrial research and development, which also sought the devel- 
opment of goods for a definite purpose, the consumer market. But even 
so the course of development followed by the CWS was painstaking and 
rigorous because it was directed toward the production of equipment upon 
which lives and battles might depend. The War Department, on the other 
hand, ordered the process to be carried out as expeditiously as possible: 
"The desire for perfection in any item of equipment must not delay the 
designation as standard type of at least one adopted type of every required 
article of equipment so that in any case of an emergency the procurement 
program may be launched without delay." 22 In the laboratories and shops 

19 (1) H. W. Houghton, New Method for Ship Fumigation. EACD 200, 3 Aug 42. (2) C. D. 
Quick, Additional Investigation on the Hydrocyanic Acid— Cyanogen Chloride Fumigation Mix- 
ture. EACD 294, 31 May 23. 

2() (1) Byron L. Wehmhoff, Albert M. Jordan, and Harry C. Knight, "Hot Plastic Shipbottom 
Paint," Chemical Warfare Bulletin 15 (December 1929), 675-80. (2) "Chemical Warfare Vs. 
the Barnacle," ibid., 14 (July 1928) 369-71. 

- 1 Proceedings of a Board of the Chemical Warfare Service appointed for the purpose of investi- 
gating conditions incident to the disaster at the Cleveland Hospital Clinic, Cleveland, Ohio, on May 
15, 1929 (Washington, 1929). 

22 AR 820-25, Par. 15. 



this was translated into the motto: "Strive for practicability rather than 
perfection." 23 

In passing from the original idea to the final product, the CWS em- 
ployed a procedure based upon regulations laid down by the War Depart- 
ment. 24 The idea itself could stem from the laboratories at Edgewood, a 
CWS officer, another branch of the Army, or a patriotic civilian. It was 
then studied in the Office of the Chief and perhaps by the Chemical War- 
fare Board. If the idea was accepted the Technical Committee drew up a 
military requirement, an official statement that the proposed article was 
needed by the Army, and the military characteristics, a list of specifica- 
tions that stated the desired size, shape, weight, materials of construction, 
and performance of the finished article. After approval of the requirements 
and characteristics by the Chief, CWS, and the War Department, Edge- 
wood Arsenal went to work. 

The first step was a preliminary investigation in the library or the lab- 
oratory to see what had been done by others along the same line, and to 
aid in analyzing the problem. With this information the staff drew up a 
project specification outlining the problem and estimating the time and 
money required. Then the technical experts took over, constructing and 
testing a series of models until they produced one that fulfilled the mili- 
tary requirements and characteristics. The Chemical Warfare Board tested 
the article under simulated service conditions and recommended any im- 
provements that were needed. The laboratories made the improvements, 
the Board tested the equipment again and gave its approval. The CWS 
canvassed industry to make certain that materials and facilities were avail- 
able to produce the munition in wartime quantities. Finally, when the article 
was known to be satisfactory for use under field conditions and procurable 
in the required quantities, it was cleared through the War Department 
and designated as a standard item of equipment. The procedure varied 
slightly when the request for the development of an item came from an- 

23 Intervs, Hist Off with Dr. Frederick W. Lane and Mr. Harry C. Knight, 22 May 57. 

24 (1) Pamphlet, Edgewood Arsenal, the Seat of Chemical Warfare, pp. 7-10. (2) Instructions 
from Chairman CWTC, Principles that Should Govern in the Research and Development of Ma- 
teriel and Ammunition Pertaining to the Chemical Warfare Service, 30 Mar 22. (3) Maj Earl J. 
Atkisson, Policy Governing Research and Development, 19 Jul 22. All in CWS 314.7 Early CWS 
History File. (4) Pamphlet, Procedure in Development, Test and Adoption of Chemical Warfare 
Material, approved 31 Jul 26, corrected to 29 Aug 27, and revised edition, 6 Sep 29. (5) Pam- 
phlet, Development Procedure, 16 Dec 31, and revised edition, 1 Feb 38. All in CWS Publications 
File, Technical Library, A CmlC, Md. (6) Rpt of CWS, 1920, p. 29. (7) Rpt of CWS, 1931 
(secret supplement), pp. 17-20. (8) Barker, "The Technical Divisions, Edgewood Arsenal." 



other branch of the Army or from the Navy, In this case the ultimate 
user set forth the desired characteristics and tested the equipment. 

Maj. Gen. Harry L. Gilchrist, chief of the CWS from 1929 to 1933, esti- 
mated that in time of peace ten years were required to go through the 
normal development cycle of research (two years), development (three 
years) adoption (one year), and supply and improvement (four years). 25 
Much of this time was spent in funding, delays in authorization, staffing, 
procurement of materials, and administrative work, rather than in labora- 
tory and test work. During World War II the CWS had to telescope the 
procedure and take short cuts in order to supply the Army, Navy and Air 
Forces with the weapons they wanted. But this speed, particularly in the 
early days of the conflict, frequently resulted in items that had not been 
sufficiently tested in the engineering process or in the field and consequently 
were not entirely suitable. 

Laboratories and Proving Grounds 

In the 1920's and 1930's the CWS had to creep along, but the out- 
break of war in Europe changed matters. The Congressional appropriation 
jumped from approximately two million dollars in 1940 to more than sixty 
million in 1941. To handle the new problems that arose, the CWS scien- 
tific organization had to expand enormously. 

In 1940 the CWS carried on all research and development at Edge- 
wood Arsenal, mainly in buildings dating from World War L The old 
laboratories had been suitable for the small-scale operations characteristic 
of the 1920's and 1930's, but not for the tremendous volume of technical 
work necessary to support the armed forces in World War II. The serv- 
ice drafted plans for a chemical research laboratory and a medical research 
laboratory at Edgewood. Since these buildings could not be completed un- 
til 1942, the CWS expanded as it had in World War I, by seeking as- 
sistance from university laboratories. 

In Cambridge, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology erected a new 
building which the CWS leased as a development laboratory. 26 The loca- 

25 Rpt, Maj Gen Harry L. Gilchrist, tide: The Chemical Warfare Service, prepared by direc- 
tion of General MacArthur, 24 Mar 31. 

26 ( 1 ) Sylvester John Hemleben, Massachusetts Institute of Technology Chemical Warfare 
Service Development Laboratory, in the monograph series History of Research and Development 
of the CWS in WW II. (2) Cape. Jacquard H. Rothschild, "New Development Laboratory 
Opens," Chemical Warfare Bulletin 28 (January 1942), 52-54. 



Conference on Expansion Program, Office of Chemical Warfare Chief Janu- 
ary 1942, From left: Brig. Gen. Paul X. English, Brig. Gen. Rollo G Ditto, Maj. 
Gen. William N. Porter, Chief of Chemical Warfare Service, Brig. Gen. Ray L. Avery, 
Col. Augustin M. Prentiss, Maj. William M. Creasy, and Maj. Lester W. Hurd, 

tion was advantageous because it was in the center of an industrial and 
university area, and because the MIT faculty was at hand for consultation. 
Operations began in June 1941, under the direction of Capt. Jacquard H. 
Rothschild. For four years CWS scientists worked here, carrying out a wide 
variety of investigations. In the course of their assignments the men stud- 
ied the pilot plant production of phosgene, mustard gas, and thionyl 
chloride; designed a rilling plant for irritant grenades; drew up plans for 
the M2 field laboratory; assisted with the development of civilian, assault, 
and headwound gas masks, and collective protectors; investigated flame 
throwers and flame thrower fuels; and examined German, Japanese, and 
Italian protective equipment and gas detectors. The laboratory continued 
to operate until the end of the war when the CWS disposed of its equip- 
ment and turned the building back to MIT. 

In New York City, Columbia University permitted the CWS to oc- 
cupy laboratories in the Building of Mines early in 1942. 27 At that time 

27 Capt. Bernard Baum, Columbia University Chemical Warfare Service Laboratories, in mono- 
graph series History of Research and Development of the CWS in WW II. 



the service was working top speed on the development and production 
of incendiary bombs, and scientists, under Lt. Col. Ralph H. Talmage, 
sought to improve magnesium bombs and incendiary fillings. Later in 1942 
the Columbia laboratory expanded its operations. The staff investigated 
the manufacture of napalm, sought substitutes for the scarce components 
of incendiary gels, and designed stronger base plates for the chemical 
mortar. The CWS remained at Columbia for twenty months, and then 
transferred its workers to Edgewood Arsenal where space was available in 
new laboratories. 

As with laboratory space, the CWS found itself in need of larger test- 
ing and proving grounds. Since 1921, when the CWS had given up Lake- 
hurst Proving Ground, all testing and proofing had been done at Edge- 
wood Arsenal. The fields there, shared by the Chemical Warfare Board, 
the Chemical Warfare School, and Ordnance Department's Aberdeen 
Proving Ground, were overcrowded, close to thickly populated areas, and 
too small to permit large-scale assessment of toxic agents. 

In addition to the laboratory facilities in the United States the CWS 
had field laboratories in operation overseas. The chemical laboratory com- 
panies and laboratory sections of chemical service companies, whose mis- 
sion was the surveillance of CWS materiel and examination of enemy 
agents and equipment, were initially supplied with a field laboratory desig- 
nated as model Ml, standardized in 1936 and in service until the latter 
part of 1943. Its 21,000 pounds of equipment, comprising 88 footlockers, 
20 boxes, and 15 crates of laboratory materials, as well as a truck-mounted 
machine shop, had to be transported on seven l^-ton trucks. Edgewood 
manufactured eleven Ml laboratories before the model was discarded in 1943. 

In 1942 the CWS issued five trailer vans to the First Chemical Lab- 
oratory Company which installed its laboratory equipment in them. The 
company found that the vans lacked sufficient interior space for the work, 
they were unwieldly to transport on railroads, they were difficult to con- 
ceal from enemy observation in the field, and they were hard to handle 
on poor roads. After several months the service dropped the idea of put- 
ting field laboratories on wheels. 28 

Late in 1942 the development of a more compact laboratory unit, with 
new and improved materials, was turned over to the National Defense 
Research Committee (NDRC), the CWS Development Laboratory at 

28 Hilbert Sloan, Field Laboratories, vol. 13 of History of Research and Development of the 
CWS in WW II. 



MIT, and the Technical Division at Edgewood. The new unit, standard- 
ized in April 1944 as the M2 base laboratory, and, like the Ml, designed 
for semipermanent installation, was contained in 36 plywood shipping 
cases and 19 crates, totaling 20,000 pounds, which could be transported 
in five 2 Vi -ton trucks. Among many improvements in techniques and 
equipment devised for this unit was a semimicroanalytical system devel- 
oped by C. S. Nieman and E. H. Swift of the California Institute of 
Technology/ 29 

In December 1943 the CWS began design of still another laboratory, 
this time a highly mobile unit for proposed laboratory teams accompany- 
ing task forces in the combat zone. This portable unit for gas intelligence 
missions weighed 3,293 pounds and was packed in 7 plywood boxes and 
9 smaller cases that could be stowed in a single 2W-ton truck. It was as- 
sembled and standardized in October 1944 as the M3 mobile laboratory. 30 

The first new proving ground was set up in 1942 in the desert waste- 
land of Utah, and included part of Dugway Valley. 31 Dugway Proving 
Ground became the major installation for the field testing, proof firing, 
and surveillance of chemical agents and munitions under temperate zone 
conditions. Here researchers carried out airplane spray tests of unthickened 
and thickened mustard at various altitudes to develop the technique of 
air-spraying; to determine the effect of the height and speed of the plane, 
as well as meteorological conditions of the atmosphere, upon the spray; 
and to evaluate agents and apparatus. Planes dropped incendiaries on fac- 
simile German and Japanese buildings to enable investigators to learn what 
happened when bombs of certain types struck enemy structures. 32 They 
also dropped phosgene, cyanogen chloride, and hydrogen cyanide bombs 
ranging in size from 100 to 4,000 pounds from different altitudes under 
different meteorological conditions to test bombs and to estimate the quan- 
tity of munitions required to lay down a lethal concentration of gas upon 
a given area. Researchers determined firing tables for the 4.2-inch chemical 
mortar and for chemical rockets. They studied the behavior of gas and 
smoke clouds under different meteorological conditions. Smoke munitions 

29 (1) CWTC Item 1024, Standardization of Laboratory, Base, CWS, M2, 5 May 44. (2) The 
work of NDRC contract groups at MIT, Cornell, Iowa, Nebraska, and elsewhere is described in 
W. A. Noyes, Jr., editor Chemistry, A History of the Chemistry Components of The National Defense 
Research Committee, 1940-1946 (Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1948), pp. 174-75, 221-23. 

ao CWTC Item 1198, Standardization of Laboratory, Mobile, CWS, M3, 26 Oct 44. 

31 Bernard Baum, Dugway Proving Ground, in monograph series History of Research and De- 
velopment of the CWS in World War II. 

32 Noyes, Chemistry, pp. 392-94. 



Dugway Proving Ground, Utah, major installation for field testing, proojfiring, 
and surveillance of chemical agents and munitions under temperate zone conditions. 

were fired to permit a comparison of the effectiveness of different muni- 
tions, and to ascertain the relative merits of white phosphorus and plas- 
ticized white phosphorus. In 1945 the installation was the scene of a most 
unusual test, the Sphinx project, by means of which the CWS demon- 
strated to General Staff officers the potentialities of gas munitions against 
Japanese cave fortifications of the type that had proved invulnerable to 
high explosives at Iwo Jima. 

As the battle lines shifted from North Africa across the Mediterranean, 
Dugway Proving Ground sent a mobile unit to conduct studies of chemi- 
cal agents in the Targhee National Forest, and the National Defense Re- 
search Committee sent a group from the University of California to 
Mount Shasta, where the climate and terrain were similar to those in 
sections of Italy. The investigations of these two groups were chiefly con- 
cerned with clouds of nonpersistent gas released from 100-pound M47A2 

To learn the behavior of agents under Pacific island conditions, Dug- 
way sent other units to Camp Paraiso in the Panama Canal Zone and to 
Bushnell, Fla. The Bushnell installation, staffed by CWS and NDRC per- 
sonnel, began operations in November 1943, and continued to function 



after the war. 33 The initial test project determined the offensive value of 
bombs filled with nonpersistent agents when used on semitropical terrain. 
Later operations ascertained the offensive value of persistent agents in such 
country, this being a departure from the old tactical concept that persistent 
agents were a weapon for defense. Between 1943 and the end of the war 
investigators evaluated a large variety of chemical munitions (bombs, shells, 
thermal generators, land mines, rocket heads, and spray tanks) for their 
efficiency in dispersing toxic agents. On Florida beaches they determined 
the hazard of mustard contaminated sand to assault troops. At the end of 
the war Bushnell closed its agent and munition program and turned to 
the testing of insecticides, fungicides, and miticides. 

In addition to Dugway Proving Ground and its branches, the CWS 
established an experimental station in 1944 on San Jose Island, off the 
west coast of Panama. 34 Here the CWS, the NDRC, Great Britain, and 
Canada co-operated in assessing chemical warfare weapons under tropical 
conditions. Technicians tested a variety of munitions including 1000-pound 
AN-M79 bombs containing phosgene and cyanogen chloride, and 115- 
pound M70 mustard filled bombs. They also studied diverse problems such 
as the hazards faced by troops in mustard contaminated jungle, the purifica- 
tion of water contaminated by chemical agents, and the effectiveness of 
bangalore torpedoes in clearing paths through mustard spotted vegetation. 
These studies gave the participants valuable data on the offensive and de- 
fensive phases of chemical warfare in jungle fighting. 

Assistance from Industries and Universities 

The new laboratories at Edgewood, at the Massachusetts Institute of 
Technology, and at Columbia University, coupled with the new proving 
grounds at Dugway, Bushnell, and San Jose, gave the CWS facilities for 
the tremendous wartime program, but the first installations could not be 
ready until 1941. To obtain assistance in getting the work started sooner 
the CWS again went outside of the Army. 

Early in 1940 the CWS decided to engage industrial and educational 
institutions to carry out research and development along certain lines. The 

33 The section on the Bushnell installation is based on Historical Monograph on CWS Experi- 
mental Station at Bushnell, Fla. MS in Hist. Off. 

:i4 (1) Capt. Jay S. Stockhardt, "San }os€ Project/' Armed Forces Chemical Journal, II (January 
1948), 32-35. (2) Col. Robert D. McLeod, Jr., "In the Wake of the Golden Galleon, or Select- 
ing a Jungle Proving Ground," Armed Forces Chemical Journal IX (March-April 1955), 36-39. 



service, finding that the War Department did not have a contract to cover 
this type of endeavor, took standard supply contracts, modified them in 
each case to suit the circumstances, and had them approved by the Office 
of the Judge Advocate General before signing. The CWS was a pioneer 
within the War Department in drawing up research and development 
contracts, and it had to proceed cautiously to keep within regulations. Its 
experience was subsequently of value to other branches of the Army. 

The contracts specified the work that was to be done, but they did 
not try to tell the contractor how to carry out his task. Each contract in- 
cluded a clause granting the government rights to any invention made as 
a result of the work. Each contract was written for a fixed sum. In cases 
where the time stated in the contract proved insufficient to carry out the 
work, the CWS negotiated a supplemental agreement extending the time 
and granting additional funds. 

From July 1940 to September 1945 the CWS spent nearly five and one- 
half million dollars for work done under approximately four hundred con- 
tracts. At the same time it was receiving a similar kind of assistance 
indirectly through the efforts of a powerful civilian organization, the NDRC. 

The NDRC was established by order of the Council of National De- 
fense on 27 June 1940 to undertake those scientific problems for which 
the facilities of the Army and Navy were inadequate. 35 In the new or- 
ganization there were five divisions. Division B (Bombs, Fuels, Gases, 
Chemical Problems), with James B. Conant as chairman, was responsible 
for chemical warfare projects. 36 To Division B the CWS recommended 
the following six projects: 

CWS-l. Aerosols— Their Generation, Stabilization, and Precipitation. 
CWS-2. Study of the Theory of Toxicity— To Correlate Chemical Structure, Physi- 
cal Properties and Toxicological Action of Organic Compounds. 
CWS-3. Synthesis of Organic Arsenicals. 

CWS-4. General Method of Synthesis of Certain Non- Arsenical Organic Compounds 

Including Several Specific Compounds. 
CWS-5. Test of Pro-Knock Materials for Use Against Gasoline Engines. 
CWS-6. Chemical Detection of Persistent Chemical Agents. 

In December 1940, the CWS added three additional projects: 

CWS-7. Fundamental Study of Gas Mask Absorbents. 
CWS-8. The Generation of Colored Smokes. 
CWS-9. Manufacturing Process for Lewisite. 

35 The History of the NDRC, from the viewpoint of organization, may be found in Irvin Stew- 
art, Organizing Scientific Research For War, the Administrative History of the Office of Scientific Re- 
search and Development (Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1948). 

36 An account of the work done for the CWS by the NDRC may be found in Noyes, Chemistry. 


A tenth project, "Flame Throwers— Fuel Composition and Nozzle 
Design," was added in February 1941. 

On 28 June 1941, the Office of Scientific Research and Development 
(OSRD) was set up in the President's Office for Emergency Management 
and the NDRC was transferred to the new agency. In December 1942 the 
NDRC was reorganized and its alphabetical divisions were broken down 
into nineteen numerical divisions. Division 9, "Chemistry"; Division 10, 
"Absorbents and Aerosols"; and Division 11, "Chemical Engineering" di- 
rected the majority of chemical warfare investigations. 

In undertaking these projects the NDRC drew up the program, se- 
lected a contractor (either an academic institution or an industrial firm), 
and then came to terms with the contractor concerning the scope of the 
work, patent rights, and the cost. When an agreement was reached, the 
contractor and the NDRC drew up a detailed plan for research. Officials 
of the NDRC known as technical aides followed the work of specific con- 
tracts. The contractor submitted reports periodically to the NDRC and 
the CWS showing the progress and results of the project. 

The CWS and NDRC maintained liaison through one or more CWS 
officers from 1941 onward, reinforced by NDRC members in the Office of 
the Chief and at Edgewood Arsenal from 1942 onward. By August 1942 
the volume of university-industrial assistance had reached the point where 
the CWS and NDRC had to form a joint Technical Committee to plan 
and allocate all research and development carried out by military and non- 
military groups. On this committee were the chief of the Technical Di- 
vision, the director of the Office of Assistant Chief for Materiel, the 
chairman of the NDRC, and the chairmen of Divisions 9 and 10, NDRC. 
The chief of the Medical Division joined the committee in August 1943- 

By the end of the war the following projects had been added to the 

CWS list: 

CWS-ll. Incendiary Leaves. 

CWS-12. Thickening of Vesicants. 

CWS-13. Prevention of Corrosion of Chemical Munitions, Vesicant Filled. 

CWS-14. Analysis and Detection of Chemical Warfare Agents in Water. 

CWS-15. Filter Materials. 

CWS-16. Filter Design. 

CWS-17. Production and Stabilization of Fog. 

CWS-18. Effect of Noise on Man and Devices for Producing Such Noises. 

CWS-19- Influence Fuzes for Airplane Spray Apparatus. 

CWS-20. Biological Problems. 

CWS-21. Incendiary Materials. 

CWS-22. Rocket Propulsion of Chemical Munitions. 

CWS-23. Formation of Flexible Films. 



CWS-24. Development of Protective Clothing. 
CWS-26. Meteorology. 

CWS-27. New Munitions for Chemical Agents. 

CWS-28. Acoustical Properties of Gas Masks and Diaphragm Materials. 

CWS-29. Non-Volatile Toxic Chemicals and their Uses. 

CWS-30. Improvement of the Exterior Ballistics of Liquid-Filled Shell. 

CWS-31. Insecticides, Rodenticides and Repellents. 

CWS-32. Improvement of 4.2-Inch Mortar 

These aspects of chemical warfare were not alone in receiving assistance 
from civilian organizations; medical research also benefited. In October 1940 
the Subcommittee on Clinical Research of the Committee on Medicine, 
NRC, took up problems dealing with the treatment of mustard-induced 
bronchopneumonia, the purification of contaminated water, and the treat- 
ment of skin lesions caused by vesicant agents. In August 1941, at the 
request of the Chief of the Medical Research Division, CWS, the Divi- 
sion of Medical Sciences of the National Research Council organized the 
Committee on the Treatment of Gas Casualties (CTGC). 37 This was a 
medical advisory body to the Chemical Warfare Service, to assist in or- 
ganizational problems of medical research and to gather and co-ordinate 
information on problems and research results obtained in the study of 
medical aspects of gas warfare in the various OSRD agencies and in the 
chemical warfare centers of other nations. To the end of the war the CTGC 
proved of signal help to the Chemical Warfare Service in its acquisition 
of medical personnel to staff the Edgewood laboratories and in advising 
on the research conducted there and, under contract, in universities, hos- 
pitals, and industrial laboratories. 38 Among the problems investigated was 
therapy for injuries to the nervous system, for mustard burns, for lung in- 
juries, and for eye injuries caused by vesicant agents. 

At the same time the NRC was having this research done for the Medi- 
cal Research Division of the CWS, the NDRC was sponsoring research 
on behalf of the toxicological research group. After General Porter merged 
the medical and toxicological groups into a single Medical Division in 
July 1943, the new division received assistance from both NRC and NDRC. 

37 Rexmond C. Cochrane, Medical Research in Chemical Warfare, in monograph series, His- 
tory of Research and Development of the Chemical Warfare Service in World War II, p. 117. 

38 (1) Cochrane, Medical Research in Chemical Warfare, pp. 90-93- (2) A list of the major 
CMR contracts with their subjects and investigators appears in E. C. Andrus, et ai, eds., "Science 
in World War II," Advances in Military Medicine, Vol. II (Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 
1946), 870-71. Hereafter cited as Advances in Military Medicine, II. (3) The range of OSRD 
investigations in a single study, on the mechanism of action of war gases, is indicated in Noyes, 
Chemistry, pp. 249-51. 



The aforementioned civilian agencies, and the universities and compa- 
nies that worked for the CWS under contract, rendered invaluable service 
to the CWS in World War II on all phases of the research and devel- 
opment program. Among their most notable contributions were the M69 
incendiary bomb, the Ml mechanical smoke generator, and napalm. The 
NDRC toxicity laboratory at the University of Chicago screened many 
hundreds of potential chemical warfare agents, the majority of which had 
been synthesized in university laboratories under NDRC contracts. Mete- 
orological studies by scientists gave the CWS accurate data on the behavior 
of gas clouds. Academic and industrial laboratories helped the CWS over- 
come the undesirable properties of certain standard toxic agents and to/ 
improve the large-scale processes of preparing agents. Much of the devel^ 
opment of the 4.2-inch recoilless chemical mortar was carried on at the 
NDRC Allegany Ballistics Laboratory. Investigations on protective oint- 
ments led to the new M5 ointment. This list could be extended to a much 
greater length, but as it stands it serves to show the quality, variety, and 
magnitude of assistance that the CWS received from nonmilitary 

Co-operation with the British Commonwealth 

Shortly before the United States entered the war, the Americans and 
British began to exchange information on chemical warfare through the 
U.S. Assistant Military Attache in London and representatives of the Brit- 
ish Purchasing Commission in America. After American forces arrived in the 
British Isles in 1942, CWS personnel could visit British installations and 
learn at first hand what the British were doing. 

To link the chemical warfare organizations of Canada and the United 
States, a joint U.S.-Canadian Advisory Committee was established. Mem- 
bership of the committee was subsequently broadened to include Great 
Britain. This three-power committee eliminated much duplication of effort, 
established uniform test procedures, and accelerated co-operative work on 
such items as toxic gases, flame throwers, and smoke munitions. 

In the fall of 1942, the Combined Chiefs of Staff set up the United 
States Chemical Warfare Committee (USCWC), headed by the Chief, 
CWS, to co-ordinate all chemical warfare activities. 39 One of the objec- 
tives of the USCWC was to insure that all types of chemical warfare ma- 
teriel used by the British and Americans would be interchangeable. The 

Brophy and Fisher, 

Organizing for War, ch. IV. 



necessity for this decision is illustrated by a problem involving incendiary 
bombs, American munitions were attached to the plane by two lugs, Brit- 
ish bombs by only one lug. In order to make the bombs suitable for car- 
rying in both American and British planes, the designs had to be changed 
to provide for three lugs. 

Although the principle of interchangeability was of great importance 
it could not be fully achieved. By the time the United States entered the 
war, facilities had already been designed to produce models developed for 
the American Army without thought of standardization with the British. 
With protective equipment it was practically impossible to obtain a wide 
range of uniform items. One case where the goal was achieved was that 
of the British light respirator, whose screw thread was made to take either 
the British or American canister. In the case of colored smoke there was 
some uniformity in regard to colors, but no standardization of munitions. 
There was practically no uniformity of flame throwers or flame thrower 
fuel, but a standard method of testing was adopted. 

Evaluation of United Kingdom and American equipment was accom- 
plished more readily than interchangeability. In April 1944 the Advisory 
Committee on the Effectiveness of Chemical Warfare Materiel in the 
Tropics, consisting of representatives of the CWS, the Canadian Field Ex- 
perimental Station, and the British Army, was established to provide op- 
erational data for planning chemical warfare in the tropical theaters of war. 
This committee was served by the Project Co-ordination Staff which eval- 
uated chemical warfare tests carried out in the United States, Great Britain, 
Canada, Australia, and India. The staff considered all factors involved in 
the use of chemical weapons, including weather and terrain, protective de- 
vices, and weapons and munitions. 

British information, most helpful to the CWS early in the war, con- 
tinued to the end of the conflict, and covered practically all areas in which 
the CWS worked. The flow of information, however, was not one-way. 
The CWS returned the favor by sending reports of weapons, agents, and 
research across the Atlantic to give the British Commonwealth the bene- 
fit of American experience. 

Information from the Enemy 

Throughout the 1920's and early 1930's the CWS had kept informed 
of foreign chemical warfare technical activities through reports from chemi- 
cal officers traveling abroad, and through representatives in the offices of 



the military attaches at the London and Berlin embassies. There was no 
special intelligence unit in the service to handle these matters, and reports 
from abroad were routed to the appropriate division in the Office of the 
Chief. 40 Several years before World War II the practice of stationing rep- 
resentatives abroad was discontinued, and the CWS was cut off from any 
direct contact with European sources. In 1940 the chief established an In- 
formation Division to collect, evaluate, and distribute information on en- 
emy chemical warfare activities. 41 This division channeled appropriate data 
to the technical agencies. 

Certain reports received through intelligence caused the CWS to em- 
phasize research along certain specific lines. This was the case with nitrogen 
mustards which the service had dropped many years before, but which 
it again began to investigate after learning that the Germans were inter- 
ested in these compounds. Generally speaking, intelligence reports were 
not as fruitful as direct examination of captured enemy equipment. 

The CWS put its first intelligence units into the field in February 1944 
when the Director of Intelligence, ASF, authorized the Chief, CWS, to 
send teams consisting of one major and four enlisted men to ETO, MTO, 
Central Pacific Area, South Pacific Area, Southwest Pacific Area, and 
CBI, where they would compose the CWS Section of the ASF Enemy 
Equipment Intelligence Service Teams. These teams were trained to ex- 
amine captured equipment and report any information of value. Before the 
war was over the original 6 teams were reinforced by 5 more, 1 for the 
China theater and 4 for ETO. 

In addition to its organized procedures for peering over the enemy's 
shoulder, the CWS at times obtained information directly from officers 
and men on the fighting fronts. In February 1942, for example, American 
forces on Bataan, Philippine Islands, captured two flame throwers. 42 Col. 
Stuart A. Hamilton, Chemical Officer, USAFFE, shipped one of these back 
to Edgewood Arsenal where the technical staff examined the weapon and 
adopted the cartridge type of ignition for the American flame thrower. 

40 Many of the intelligence reports on foreign research and development are in the Technical 
Library, Army Chemical Center, Md. 

41 (1) OC CWS Off O 6, 6 July 40. The Information Division underwent several reorganiza- 
tions and changes in name. (2) This discussion of CWS intelligence activities is drawn largely 
from History of Intelligence Activities, OC CWS, 6 July 1940-31 December 1945. CWS 314.7 
Intelligence File. 

42 Col. Stuart A. Hamilton, Activities Chemical Warfare Service, Philippine Islands, World 
War II, 22 Nov 46. In OCMH. (2) Ltr, Hamilton to ACofS, G-2, USAFFE, 21 Feb 42, sub: Re- 
port of Physical Examination of Japanese Flame Thrower No. 1, with 1 report and 3 inds. CWS 



Toward the end of the war in Europe, and after V-E Day, the CWS 
continued to obtain information on German chemical warfare through two 
agencies. 43 The first of these was a group known as the Combined In- 
telligence Objectives Subcommittee (CIOS), organized to uncover all 
German military secrets and scientific discoveries. The second was the 
United States' world-wide organization, Field Intelligence Army, Technical 

The work of these agencies was done by teams of experts who went 
into an area after it was overrun. One team of experts spent four months 
in Germany studying plants that had produced hydrogen peroxide as a 
propellant for torpedoes and V-2 bombs. Their 350-page report, later re- 
leased to the public, was the most complete authority anywhere on the 
manufacture and handling of concentrated hydrogen peroxide. Another 
team inspected chlorine plants to study the operation of mercury cells, 
with which the Germans had replaced the diaphragm type cells. Other 
investigators found plants that had been constructed to synthesize acetylene 
from hydrocarbons, and to react acetylene under high pressure, processes in 
which the German chemical industry had been pioneers. The survey of 
German plants occupied the time of scores of men and produced moun- 
tains of reports. This information was released to the public, and proved 
a stimulant to industry, the profession, and the universities. 

While the CWS obtained a large volume of information on German, 
Italian, and Japanese gas masks, incendiary bombs, smoke munitions, flame 
throwers, and other equipment from intelligence sources or the examina- 
tion of captured weapons, the information generally resulted in only minor 
changes in components of CWS items, rather than in drastic redesign. 
Information from the British and the NDRC had much more influence 
in bringing about significant improvements or innovations in materiel. 

The new laboratories, proving grounds, testing stations, and sources of 
friendly and enemy data, gave the CWS a larger technical organization 
than it ever dreamed of in the 1920's and 1930's. With the additional 
facilities, funds, and personnel it had the task of sending scientists and 
engineers along a variety of paths and of producing an extremely diversi- 
fied line of items. Some of its research was fruitful, some was fruitless. 
Some of its products were welcomed by fighting men, some were not 
satisfactory. Like other services that carried on research and development, 
the CWS had scientific victories and defeats. 

13 Col. Harry A. Kuhn, "German Technical Information." Armed Forces Chemical Journal, I 
(January 1947), 12-14. 


Toxic Agents 

The Chemical Warfare Service came into existence because the armed 
forces needed a branch to deal with the problems arising from the use 
of poison gas, and although the service acquired the responsibility for 
other areas of warfare, such as incendiaries and smokes, its major concern 
during World War II remained the research, production, and neutraliza- 
tion of toxic agents. The first chemical used in World War I was chlo- 
rine, a heavy green gas. As the war progressed liquid and solid compounds 
were also used to launch chemical attacks. 1 

One of the first steps by the CWS just before World War II was to 
expand research on the classes of substances that might be suitable for 
toxic agents. In this program the National Defense Research Committee 
did much work. 2 Soon after the committee came into existence in 1940, 
the CWS submitted to it six projects, four of which were concerned 
wholly or partially with toxic agents. To screen compounds synthesized by 
hundreds of chemists in universities and industry, the NDRC established 
in April 1941 a toxicity laboratory at the University of Chicago, 3 In its 
four years of existence this laboratory screened about seventeen hundred 
compounds. 4 The most promising of these, including sulphur fluorides, 

1 (1) Despite the inexactness of referring to all these substances as poison "gases," the term 
has continued to be commonly used. The correct military expression is "toxic agent." (2) Chlorine 
was not used as a toxic agent in World War II, but was used for other purposes. See |ch. XII| 

2 (1) Noyes, Chemistry, pp. 157-62, 166-74. (2) Chemical Warfare Agents, and Related Chem- 
ical Problems, Summary Technical Report of Division 9, National Defense Research Committee 
(Washington, 1946), pp. 3-264. 

3 (1) Final Technical Report of the University of Chicago Toxicity Laboratory. OSRD 5527. 
(2) George H. Mangun, 'Toxicity Laboratory, University of Chicago," Armed Forces Chemical 

Journal, 1 (January 1947), 25-26, 49-50. 

4 The results from the toxicity laboratory occupied fifty-three classified reports. A list of the 
reports may be foundin OSRD 5527. 



nitrogen mustards, arsenicals, sulphur mustards, aromatic carbamates, fluoro- 
acetates, and aliphatic nitrosocarbamates were studied in more detail by 
the CWS at the Edge wood laboratories. 

Of the vast number of compounds investigated, the CWS and NDRC 
found not one new standard agent. The difficulty lay in finding substances 
that met a large number of varying conditions. The compound had to be 
highly toxic so that a small amount would contaminate a large area. It 
had to be available in large quantities from the chemical industry, or it 
had to be of such a nature that it could be synthesized on a large scale 
at a reasonable price. It had to be stable during storage and not decom- 
pose into harmless materials. It was desirable that the density of the gas 
or vapor be heavier than air so that the compound would linger over the 
target. The vapor had to be nonflammable so that it would not be ignited 
by the flash of the burster. 5 It could not react unduly with air or mois- 
ture. It could not corrode the container or evolve a gas that might burst 
the container. If it were a liquid, the freezing point had to be low, else 
it would freeze in a cold climate or in airplanes at high altitudes. Finally, 
the chemical, physical (i.e., color) and physiological (i.e., odor) properties 
had to be such that the enemy would be unable to detect the gas quickly 
and would have difficulty in providing protection. 

These conditions were difficult to meet. Of the thousands of com- 
pounds considered by the CWS between 1917 and 1940, and by the CWS 
and NDRC during World War II, not one was found that could come 
up to the standbys of World War I. This was also the experience of 
Great Britain and the other Allied nations; and only the Germans through 
an accidental industrial discovery made while investigating insecticides, 
came upon a new group of agents, the so-called nerve gases or G-agents. 6 

In addition to seeking new agents the CWS spent much time im- 
proving the methods of preparing the standard agents and of overcom- 
ing such undesirable properties in the agents as instability. The service 
erected new plants using the improved processes at CWS arsenals and at 
other locations, and renovated older plants. It advanced the design of 

5 See above, [p. 18, n. 54] 

6 In 1936 Dr. Gerhard Schrader, a research chemist with I. G. Farbenindustrie in Leverkusen, 
synthesized an extremely toxic compound, "Tabun/* while investigating insecticides. The com- 
pound was reported to the Ministry of War. In 1938 research along the same lines led to "Sarin." 
"Soman" was prepared in 1944. For the sake of secrecy the Germans called these compounds 
Trilon, the name of a detergent manufactured in Germany. The existence of the G-agents was un- 
known to Great Britain and the United States until German chemical shells were captured and 
analyzed in 1945, although vague hints about them appeared occasionally in intelligence reports 
from 1943 onward. 



chemical munitions, and obtained considerable information on their poten- 
tial usefulness through exhaustive field tests. Arsenals and depots con- 
ducted large-scale surveillance tests to determine the storage life of agents. 
During World War II the CWS devoted most of the time spent on the 
research and development of toxics to the standard agents. 


Phosgene, or carbonyl chloride (CWS symbol, CG), is a colorless 
liquid, slightly denser than water. It boils at 47° F. and hence in warm 
weather is in the form of vapor, unless under slight pressure as in a 
cylinder or shell. The vapor dissipates into the air in a few minutes, and 
for this reason CG is known as a nonpersistent agent. The vapor smells 
like green corn or new mown hay, and is extremely toxic. When inhaled, 
phosgene damages the capillaries in the lungs, allowing watery fluid to 
seep into the air cells. If the quantity inhaled is less than the lethal dose 
the injury is slight, the fluid is reabsorbed, the cell walls heal, and the 
patient eventually recovers; but if a large amount is inhaled, the air cells 
become flooded and the patient dies from lack of oxygen. It is difficult to 
estimate the severity of poisoning since the full effect is usually not 
apparent until three or four hours after exposure. 

Phosgene was the second major agent to appear in World War I. The 
Germans first employed it in a cloud gas attack against the British in 
Flanders in December 1915 when 88 tons of the gas released from 4,000 
cylinders caused more than 1,000 casualties. 7 The Allies quickly adopted 
it and used it in enormous quantities throughout the war. It was an ex- 
tremely dangerous agent, causing more than 80 percent of all chemical 
fatalities. After the war the CWS surveyed all of the nonpersistent agents, 
but could not find any that were more effective than phosgene. 8 In 1928 
the service classified CG as a substitute standard agent and in 1936 as a 
standard, 9 

In World War I Edgewood Arsenal and several chemical companies 

7 Lt. Col. Augustin M. Prentiss, Chemicals in War: A Treatise on Chemical Warfare (New 
York: McGraw-Hill, 1937), pp. 154-55. 

8 G. S. Armstrong and S. A. White, Selection of Quick Acting Non-persistent Agent. EATR 
191, 4 Apr 35. 

9 (1) Ltr, C CWS to TAG, 21 Feb 28, sub: Adoption of Type (Chemical Agents), and Inds. 
Copy in CWTC. (2) Memo, C CWS for Chairman, CWS Branch Comm, 26 Feb 36, sub: Clas- 
sification of Chemical Agents. Copy in CWTC. (3) Memo, C CWS for TAG, 5 Mar 37, sub: Sub- 
committee Report on Military Characteristics and Classification of Gas, Non-persistent. Copy in 



produced phosgene for the AEF. 10 The compound was prepared by com- 
bining chlorine and carbon monoxide in the presence of a catalyst. There 
were two methods of carrying out the reaction; in one concentrated car- 
bon monoxide was used, in the other, dilute. The American plants adopted 
the concentrated gas process, but after the war the CWS weighed the 
relative merits of the two processes and concluded that the dilute gas 
method was more practical because it required simpler equipment that 
would be more readily available in an emergency. 11 The CWS, however, 
was unable to construct a dilute gas plant because of lack of funds. 

From 1922 onward the phosgene plant at Edgewood lay idle as the 
War Department forbade the manufacture of toxic agents. In 1937 the 
CWS rehabilitated and operated the plant for a brief period to produce 
phosgene and to provide the Technical Division with engineering data for 
a larger plant. The design was ready in 1939, and the new plant con- 
structed and placed in operation in July 1941. 12 

Between 1940 and 1945 the CWS studied the manufacture of phosgene 
along four lines: improvement of the Edgewood process, pilot plant studies 
of the dilute gas process, erection of a by-product plant in Tennessee, and 
investigation of the diphosgene process, 

Improvement of the Edgewood plant began in 1942 when the Tech- 
nical Division carried out experiments that increased the efficiency of the 
process at an annual savings of $65 ,000. 13 In 1944 the division established 
a pilot plant for further improvement of the process. 14 The plant at Edge- 
wood served as model for a plant of thirty tons' capacity a day that the 
CWS erected at the Huntsville Arsenal and began operating in 1944. 15 

The concentrated gas process used at the Edgewood plant required 
solid carbon dioxide, pure oxygen, refrigeration equipment, and gas com- 
pressors, all classified as critical materials. In July 1942 the CWS Devclop- 

10 (1) Short account of the manufacture of L 3 (Phosgene) as carried on at Edgewood Arsenal 
during the summer and fall of 1918. EAL 572, 1 Dec 18. (2) Historical information concerning 
the Bound Brook Plant of Edgewood Arsenal. CWS, H-193. (3) Clarence J. West, Phosgene, 
Chemical Warfare Monographs, vol. 22, pt. 1, May 1919- 

11 L. Vickroy, Post War Developments in the Manufacture of Phosgene. EACD 110, 28 Feb 22. 

12 (1) Brooks F. Smith, Phosgene Plant Design; Operation of Edgewood Arsenal Plant, June, 
July and August 1937. EATR 267, 25 May 39- (2) N. M. Bouder, Phosgene Plant Design, Final 
Report on Project A 3.1-1.1. EATR 294, 23 Jun 39. (3) Edgewood Arsenal in Chemical Warfare 
Production, July 1940-December 1943, pp. 51-53. 

13 Agencs II (Lung Irritants), monograph MS, vol. 2 of series History of Research and Devel- 
opment of the CWS ( 1 July 1940-31 December 1945), pp. 33-35. Hereafter cited as Agents II. 

1A Capt Charles B. Gritfen, Jr., and Capt P. H. Schneider, CG Process Development. TDMR 
952, 30 Jan 45. 

15 History of Huntsville Arsenal, July l?4l to August 1945, vol. I, pp. 456-65. 



ment Laboratory at MIT began to investigate a dilute gas process using 
ordinary producer gas, containing from 15 to 20 percent carbon monoxide, 
in place of concentrated carbon monoxide. After eight months of labor 
the laboratory perfected a pilot plant capable of producing ten pounds of 
liquid phosgene an hour. Using the data obtained from the trials the lab- 
oratory drew up plans for a plant having a capacity of twenty-five tons a 
day and requiring for the most part standard industrial equipment. The 
CWS found it unnecessary to construct a dilute gas plant, but the plans 
were on hand for use in an emergency, 16 

In 1944 the CWS added yet another process. It erected a plant near 
Columbia, Tenn., to take advantage of the tremendous quantity of carbon 
monoxide available as a by-product from the Monsanto Chemical Co. 
phosphate works. This carbon monoxide contained impurities, particularly 
phosphorus and sulphur compounds, which had to be removed before the 
gas could be used. The Monsanto Co., under CWS contract, set up two 
pilot plants for the development of a large-scale method of purifying car- 
bon monoxide and manufacturing phosgene. These pilot plants and those 
at Edgewood furnished the CWS with information for the design of a 
large plant with capacity of thirty-six tons a day. Construction began in 
May 1944, and the first phosgene was produced in February of the follow- 
ing year. Monsanto operated the process until the CWS closed the plant 
in April. 17 

The fourth and most unusual method of producing phosgene was 
based on the use of trichloromethyl chloroformate or diphosgene. This 
compound is less volatile than phosgene and is therefore less dangerous 
and troublesome to load into bombs and shells. By means of a catalyst it 
is quickly converted into phosgene. Taking these facts into consideration 
the CWS conceived the possibility of filling munitions with diphosgene 
and enclosing a catalyst which would convert the material into phosgene. 
In 1942 Morris S. Kharasch at the University of Chicago and in 1943 
S. Temple at E. I. du Pont de Nemours & Co. investigated the reaction 
under NDRC contracts. Kharasch also studied the catalysts. 18 The scheme 

16 (1) Hemleben, CWS-MIT Development Laboratory, pp. 34-44. (2) R. P. Whitney, F. W. 
Holt, Jr., C. H. King, Jr., A Pilot Plant Investigation of the Manufacture of Liquid Phosgene. 
MITMR 37, 13 Aug 43. 

17 History of the Duck River CWS Plant, passim. 

18 (1) M. S. Kharasch. The Preparation of Diphosgene. OSRD 504. 15 Apr 42. (2) S. Temple, 
Preparation of Diphosgene. OSRD 1437, 20 May 43. (3) M. S. Kharasch, The Catalytic Con- 
version of Diphosgene into Phosgene. OSRD 332, 9 Jan 42. (4) M. S. Kharasch. Catalytic Con- 
version of Diphosgene into Phosgene within Closed Heavy Metal Containers. OSRD 899> 28 
Sep 42. 



appeared practicable, but the CWS finally decided that the advantages of 
the method did not compensate for the higher cost of diphosgene and 
the changes that would have been necessary in the design of munitions. 

During the war the CWS manufactured and purchased from industry 
more than forty million pounds of phosgene for use in various muni- 
tions. 19 Two munitions for phosgene, the chemical mortar shell and the 
portable cylinder, had descended from World War I. In the event of gas 
warfare, the mortar would have been the chief weapon of the ground 
forces for laying down concentrations of phosgene on caves, dugouts, 
bunkers, and artillery and machine gun emplacements. From 1941 to 1944 
the CWS filled almost half a million 4.2-inch mortar shells with CG. 
Each shell held almost seven pounds of CG, about 25 percent of the total 
weight of the filled munition. 

The cylinder had been a standard weapon in the static trench warfare 
of World War I, but it was scarcely suited for the blitz tactics of World 
War II. It could have been used, however, to overcome resistance within 
caves or bunkers on Japanese-held islands. It contained thirty-one pounds 
of phosgene, about 56 percent of the total weight. The cylinder also held 
about two pounds of carbon dioxide to expel the phosgene in the form 
of a mist. In view of the possible employment of cylinders, the service 
retained the final model M1A2, standardized in 1936, until World War II 
was over. 20 

New phosgene weapons were the 7.5-inch rocket, the AN-M78 500- 
pound bomb, and the AN-M79 1000-pound bomb. The rocket, which was 
the World War II counterpart of the World War I Livens projectile, was 
readied by 1944. The Navy took almost eight thousand of these, the Army 
more than twenty-three thousand. 

Development of phosgene bombs started in early 1942 when the CWS 
asked the Ordnance Department for a series of chemical bombs of ap- 
proximately the same shape as general purpose bombs. The new munitions 
were produced in 1943 and sent to Dugway Proving Ground for testing 
and evaluation. 21 The 1000-pound bomb holding 415 pounds of CG 

19 Richard H. Crawford, Lindsley F. Cook, and Theodore E. Whiting, Statistics, "Procure- 
ment," p. 21, Copy in OCMH. Statistics is a forthcoming volume in the series UNITED STATES 

20 (1) CWTC Item 1545, ObsoLetion of Cylinders, Portable, Chemical, Ml, MlAl, MlA2, 
and Apparatus, Charging, Portable Chemical Cylinder, Ml, 28 Mar 46. (2) CWTC Item 1614, 
same title, 23 May 46. 

21 (1) Baum, Dugway Proving Ground, pp. 201-24. (2) CWTC Item 826, Classification of 
Fillings for Chemical Munitions, 15 Oct 43. (3) CWTC Item 881, Classification of Fillings for 
Chemical Munitions, 3 Dec 43. 



turned out to be an extremely effective munition. When it hit the ground 
and burst open a large amount of liquid phosgene was freed. The evapo- 
rating liquid cooled the vapor and caused it to flatten out against the 
ground in a pancake-shaped cloud instead of rising as had been expected. 
This cloud always formed, regardless of the weather. The 500-pound bomb 
containing 205 pounds of CG was not quite half as effective as the 1000- 
pound bomb, but it was still a useful munition because American planes 
could carry more than twice as many 500-pound bombs as 1000-pound 
bombs. The CWS filled twenty-five thousand 500-pound bombs in 1944, 
and sixty-three thousand 1000-pound bombs from 1943 to 1945. The Air 
Forces could, in case of chemical warfare, have used these chemical bombs 
against targets beyond mortar range, against fortifications on Iwo Jima 
and other islands before amphibious assaults were made, and against 
strategic targets, such as war plants during working hours. 

After the war examination of stocks of gas weapons captured in Ger- 
many showed that the German Army had on hand thousands of 250- 
and 500-kilogram phosgene bombs. 22 These bombs, however, had been 
largely superseded by bombs containing the nerve gas tabun, which the 
Germans began producing in 1942. 23 The Germans did not favor the use 
of phosgene in shells. Italy had phosgene bombs, and shells ranging in 
size from 149-mm. to 305-mm. 24 Phosgene shells, from 75-mm. up to 150- 
mm. were captured from the Japanese, who also had bombs in sizes up 
to 200 kilograms. 25 

Had gas warfare started early in World War II, phosgene would 
probably have been used widely by the Allied and the Axis armies wher- 
ever the tactical situation called for the employment of a nonpersistent, 
delayed-action agent. Sometime in 1942 or thereafter, evidence indicates 
that as a stockpile accumulated the Germans would have introduced 
tabun, and phosgene would then have had to share the field with the 
new nerve gas. 

Hydrogen Cyanide 

At the battle of the Somme in July 1916 French artillery fired shells 
filled with hydrogen cyanide (CWS symbol, AC). 26 The compound had 

22 First United States Army, Report of Operations 23 Feb-8 May 1945, Annex No. 9, p. 192. 

23 Intel Div, CWS, Theater Service Forces, ETOUSA, German Chemical Warfare, World War 
II, Sep 45, p. 39- Hereafter cited as German Chemical Warfare. 

24 CW Intel Bull No. 16, kalian Chemical Warfare, 1 Jul 43. 

25 (1) CW Intel Bull No. 49 ; pt. I, Japanese Gas Shells, 1 Feb 45. (2) CW Intel Bull No. 14, 
Aerial Gas Weapons of Germany, Italy and Japan, 15 May 43. 

26 Hydrogen cyanide is also known as hydrocyanic acid and prussic acid. 



been familiar to chemists for a century but this was the first time it was 
used in warfare. 27 It is a colorless liquid which evaporates quickly at room 
temperature and boils at 78° F. The liquid and vapor interfere with nor- 
mal processes in body cells, particularly in the respiratory center of the 
nervous system, and if present in more than a certain small concentration 
quickly causes death. But if cyanide is present in less than the lethal con- 
centration the cells can convert it into a harmless compound and the body 
is uninjured. In this respect AC is different from phosgene, mustard, and 
other toxic agents which are harmful even when present in less than the 
lethal dose. 

The French had some difficulty in using hydrogen cyanide as an agent 
because AC vapor is light and therefore has a tendency to diffuse instead 
of lying close to the ground. Also, AC has a tendency to decompose- 
sometimes so violently that the container exploded. 28 

In an attempt to cut down the rate of diffusion the French mixed AC 
with stannic chloride. To prevent AC from decomposing the French added 
arsenic trichloride. To keep the mixture from crystallizing and to make 
soldiers more susceptible to the agent they added chloroform. The addi- 
tion of these compounds diluted the AC so much that the final mixture 
contained only 50 percent of the cyanide. This meant that twice as many 
shells, or shells with twice the capacity, were needed to deliver the same 
weight of the cyanide— a rather wasteful procedure. 

In addition to employing a dilute agent the French used small shells 
holding only about a pound of filling. Furthermore, their artillery fired at 
a slow rate. As a result the French were not able to place a lethal con- 
centration of gas on an enemy area. Other nations observed the apparent 
failure of hydrogen cyanide and came to the conclusion that it was not 
suitable as a war gas, but the French never lost faith in it and continued 
to use it until the end of the war. 

Despite its drawbacks, hydrogen cyanide was inexpensive, commercially 
available, and had several of the other properties that have been men- 
tioned as being necessary or desirable for a toxic agent. After the war the 
opinion gained ground in the CWS that the agent had not been given 
a fair trial. 29 In the 1930's chemists made laboratory and field studies, in- 

27 Maj. Gen. C. H. Foulkes, "Gasf" The Story of the Special Brigade (Edinburgh: William 
Blackwood & Sons, 1934), p. 108, says that hydrogen cyanide was "reported" to have been em- 
ployed by Austrian artillery in Italy in September 1915. 

2 * After World War I the CWS experienced several explosions among AC shells and cylinders 
in storage sheds at Edgewood Arsenal. 

29 Rudolph Macy, Hydrocyanic Acid: Its Military History and a Summary of its Properties. 
EATR 219, 20 May 37. 



eluding firing tests with 155-mm. howitzer shells, and came to the con- 
clusion that the compound was potentially an effective lethal, nonper- 
sistent agent. 30 They overcame the old problem of decomposition with 
the aid of Du Pont and American Cyanamid, manufacturers of hydrogen 
cyanide, who gave information which finally enabled the CWS to stabilize 
the cyanide in munitions. 31 

After the United States entered World War II the CWS extended its 
work and tested AC bombs of the 100-, 11 5-, 1000-, and 2000-pound size. 
The 1000-pound bomb, holding approximately 200 pounds of agent, proved 
particularly suitable as a munition. With this large quantity of the cya- 
nide the cooling effect brought about by evaporation of the liquid pro- 
duced a cloud of gas whose density was greater than air and which hovered 
close to the ground. Under favorable meteorological conditions the cloud 
was fatal hundreds of yards from the point of impact. 32 

The bomb was unquestionably an efficient munition for use in a cya- 
nide gas attack, but the tests uncovered a serious problem. The vapor 
which billowed outward from the bomb was easily ignited by the flash 
of the burster. In some tests, practically all the bombs caught fire as they 
split open. There were three ways of preventing the burning of AC: one 
was to devise a "cold" bursting charge that would not ignite the vapor, 
the second was to use a more powerful bursting charge that would push 
the vapor cloud away from the bomb faster than the flame could follow, 
and the third was to add a substance that would make AC more difficult 
to ignite. Since the first two methods would have required too much time 
and field work, the third was followed. Anton B. Burg and his associates 
conducted the research under an NDRC contract at the University of 
Southern California. They discovered that hydrocarbons such as those in 
gasoline were the best flame inhibitors. Dugway Proving Ground tested 
AC protected with hydrocarbons and found that it did not take fire as 
readily as pure AC, but bombs still burned occasionally, and the problem 
was never completely solved. 33 

The 1000-pound bomb would have been the chief means of dumping 
hydrogen cyanide on the enemy if gas had been used in the latter part 
of the war. It was standardized for use with AC in 1943, and about 5,000 

3n Samuel A. White, Hydrocyanic Acid: Field Tests (Static and Artillery Fire) of HCN in 155- 
mm. Shell. EATR 299, 5 May 39. 

31 G. N. Jarman, HCN: Stability in Shell, Status Report, 1940. EATR 340, 6 Mar 41. 

:v2 Baum, Dugway Proving Ground, pp. 214-29. 

Military Problems with Aerosols and Nonpersistent Gases, Summary Technical Report of 
Division 10, National Defense Research Committee (Washington, 1946). 



bombs were filled and stored. 34 This munition accounted for almost all of 
the 1,132,000 pounds of AC procured by the CWS from July 1940 to the 
end of 1945. 35 

An unusual AC weapon was a glass bottle holding about a pint of 
liquid. 36 This grenade was produced from 1942 onward as a possible last- 
ditch weapon against tanks or in overcoming bunkers. It was finally 
dropped from the approved munitions in 1944 because of the danger of 
breakage during shipment, either through accident or enemy action, and 
because tests had proven that it would not always break on soft jungle 
underbrush or if it glanced off log bunkers. 37 

In view of the fact that the Germans did not regard hydrogen cyanide 
as highly as some other agents, they did not procure large quantities or 
fill shells, bombs, or grenades. They did, however, think that AC might 
be useful in the form of a spray, and the Luftwaffe carried out extensive 
field trials with aerial spray tanks. 

The Japanese, on the other hand, felt as the Americans did about the 
value of AC, but they planned to use it in shells and grenades rather 
than in bombs. Their AC munitions ranged from mortar shells— light, 
medium, and heavy— to 150-mm. howitzer shells. Japanese glass grenades 
containing hydrogen cyanide were captured on Guadalcanal, in Burma, and 
on the upper Chindwin River. 

Hydrogen cyanide was not as important as some of the other toxic 
agents, but if gas warfare had broken out, both sides would certainly have 
employed it in tactical situations where its rapid action and lack of per- 
sistence would have been of advantage to the attacking force. 

Cyanogen Chloride 

Cyanogen chloride (CWS symbol, CK) is a colorless liquid slightly 
denser than water. 38 It boils at a temperature of 55° R, giving off a vapor 
which is approximately twice as dense as air and which irritates the eyes 

34 (1) CWTC Item 826. (2) CWTC Item 881. (3) Chemical Warfare Service Report of Pro- 
duction, 1 Jan 40 through 31 Dec 45, p. 4. Prepared by Prod Br, Proc Div, CWS. CWS 314.7 
Procurement File, 

35 Consolidated Chemical Commodity Report, 16 Oct 51, p. 16. This report was prepared by 
Facilities Br, Ind Div, OC CmlO. CWS 314.7 Procurement File. 

36 CWTC Item 495, Standardization of HCN Filling for Grenade, Frangible Ml, 10 Feb 42. 

37 (1) CWTC Item 1117, Obsoletion of Grenade, Frangible (AC), Ml and Grenade, Frangible 
(FS), Ml, 31 Aug 44. (2) CWTC Item 1201, same title, 26 Oct 44. 

38 In June 1943 the CWS changed the symbol CK to CC. But the letters CC resembled CG 
(phosgene) when printed f and there was some confusion. In November 1944 the symbol CK was 
restored. See CWTC Item 1 179. 



and nasal passages. When air containing a high concentration of the 
vapor is inhaled the compound quickly paralyzes the nervous system and 
causes death. When a low concentration is inhaled the reaction is not so 
rapid, but the compound accumulates in the body until a lethal concentra- 
tion is reached. 

Cyanogen chloride was first used as a toxic agent by the French in 
October 1916. In 1917 and 1918 the CWS investigated the manufacture, 
the chemical, physical, and physiological properties, and the effectiveness 
in shells and Livens projectiles of cyanogen chloride. 39 The Research Divi- 
sion found that the gas passed rapidly through the German but not 
through the American mask. This was an important discovery and might 
have led to the adoption of the compound as an American chemical war- 
fare agent had not the density of the vapor been so low that the CWS 
felt it was impossible to place a lethal concentration of cyanogen chloride 
on enemy positions. 40 The same decision, apparently, was also reached by 
the French and other European armies, for cyanogen chloride was never 
used to any extent. 

Between the wars the CWS conducted few trials with CK. The com- 
pound's chief test came in 1933 when the Technical Division, searching 
for an agent that would act more rapidly than phosgene, the standard non- 
persistent agent, examined CK and decided it was not acceptable. 41 But 
early in World War II the CWS, while examining captured Japanese and 
German masks, obtained data that indicated that CK would penetrate 
enemy canisters in harassing concentrations if the humidity of the air was 
high — a condition common to the tropics. 42 This discovery opened the 
way for the adoption of CK as a standard agent. As a prelude to stand- 
ardization technicians had to learn if a lethal concentration could be laid 
down over enemy positions, to see if CK was available in quantities suffi- 
cient for military use, to find means of overcoming the instability of the 
compound, and to modify the canister of the mask for greater protection 
to American soldiers. 

The CWS and NDRC assessed CK at Dugway Proving Ground in 

39 Clarence J. West, Cyanogen Derivatives, Chloride, Bromide, Iodide, Sulfide, Chemical War- 
fare Monographs, vol. 25, April 1919. 

40 Phosgene, mustard, lewisite, and other agents have a density 3.4 to 7 times that of air. CK 
is only twice as dense as air. Only one agent, hydrogen cyanide, is less dense than CK. 

41 Armstrong and White, Selection of Quick-Acting Nonpersistent Agent. 

42 A comparison of enemy and friendly canisters may be found in: (1) CWTC Item 811, 
Standardization of Nonpersistent Agent, Cyanogen Chloride, 3 Sep 43. (2) Military Problems with 
Aerosols and Nonpersistent Gases, Summary Technical Report of Division 10, National Defense Re- 
search Committee (Washington, 1946). 



February and March 1943. 43 Testers placed a 100-pound chemical bomb 
containing 67 pounds of CK and a 500-pound bomb containing 280 
pounds of CK in shallow craters and split them open with tetryl bursters. 
They estimated the strength of the gas cloud by means of vapor sampling 
devices and goats placed downwind from the burst. The trials showed that 
the 500-pound bomb released a low-hanging cloud that was lethal for a 
considerable distance and that the flash from a tetryl burster would not 
ignite the compound. 

Even though CK was shown to be suitable as an agent, the CWS still 
might not have standardized it if the protective properties of the Amer- 
ican mask had not been improved. The mask carried by soldiers at the 
start of the war gave excellent protection against chloropicrin, phosgene, 
mustard, and lewisite but only fair protection against hydrogen cyanide, 
and cyanogen chloride. The CWS in 1943 adopted Type ASC charcoal, 
treated with chromium, which was more effective in removing CK. Thus 
at the time when the investigators were uncovering evidence of the use- 
fulness of CK on the offense, the technicians were developing better 
protection for defense. 

Another hurdle that remained was the chemical instability of cyanogen 
chloride which had a tendency to polymerize. That is, the short molecules 
of the compound would join together spontaneously to form large mole- 
cules of a new compound. Sometimes the reaction took place so rapidly 
that the container exploded. Polymerization within bombs or shells also 
meant a wastage of the munition, since the new compounds were rela- 
tively harmless as agents. 

The task of preventing or retarding polymerization was undertaken by 
Division 10 of the NDRC in 1942. A group of chemists headed by 
Wendell M. Latimer of the University of California made a preliminary 
search for stabilizing compounds. Later researchers of American Cyanamid 
Co., working under CWS contract, took up the quest and uncovered addi- 
tional information. Dugway Proving Ground contributed to these studies 
by setting up a large-scale surveillance test of munitions filled with CK. 
In August 1943 the NDRC started an additional experimental program 
under Anton B. Burg of the University of Southern California. Burg's 
group ran nearly two thousand tests on cyanogen chloride. This work 
expanded the knowledge of the chemistry of CK, particularly the reactions 
which took place during storage, but still did not provide the complete 

43 B. G. Macintire, Static Tests of CC in 100-lb. and 500-lb. Chemical Bombs. DPGMR 5, 12 
Mar 43. 



answer. In 1944 Division 9 of the NDRC entered the field with a group 
of men under Kharasch of the University of Chicago. This group observed 
the retarding power of inorganic compounds on the polymerization of CK 
and finally found that a small amount of sodium pyrophosphate would 
preserve CK under normal storage conditions for many years. From then 
on sodium pyrophosphate was used to stabilize CK. 

In order to obtain sufficient CK for chemical munitions, the CWS had 
to erect a plant. Before the war the only plant in the country was owned 
by the American Cyanamid Co. at Warners, N.Y. This plant produced 
sufficient cyanogen chloride for industry, but could not turn out the large 
quantity needed for chemical warfare. In October 1943 the War Depart- 
ment approved the construction of a CWS plant with a capacity of fif- 
teen tons, later increased to sixty tons, per day. 44 The Chemical Construc- 
tion Co. broke ground for the "Owl" plant, as it was called, on 27 Nov- 
ember at a site adjacent to the American Cyanamid Co.'s hydrogen cyanide 
plant at Azusa, Calif. This location thus assured the "Owl" plant with 
the hydrogen cyanide needed in the process. American Cyanamid, which 
operated the plant under contract, started the first unit in April 1944. 

The CWS chose two types of munitions for cyanogen chloride— 4.2- 
inch mortar shells and bombs. The mortar shell was made the official CK 
munition for ground forces in 1945, but was not filled. Instead, almost 
all of the twenty-five million pounds of CK procured by the CWS went 
into 33,347 M78 500-pound bombs, each holding 165 pounds of agent, 
and 55,851 M79 1000-pound bombs, each holding 332 pounds. 45 

Cyanogen chloride bombs, in event of chemical warfare, would prob- 
ably have been used early against the Japanese, particularly in the tropics, 
where the humidity would have assisted the vapor in passing through the 
canister. The soldier then would have been forced to tear off his mask, 
exposing himself to other lethal agents dropped simultaneously. In time 
the Japanese and Germans could have treated the charcoal in such a way 
that CK would no longer pass through their canisters. The agent would 
then have lost its chief usefulness as a war gas. 

Mustard Gas 

In World War I the protection experts on each side tried to devise 
means of neutralizing enemy agents as soon as new agents appeared. Chlo- 

44 History of the Owl Plant, passim. 

45 Consolidaced Chemical Commodity Report, p. 56. (2) CWS Report of Production, 1 Jan 40 
through 31 Dec 45, p. 4. 



rine, the first gas used, was soon parried by an adequate mask. As new 
gases appeared, the masks were improved. Soon the mask furnished full 
protection and men were gassed only when they were careless, panicky, or 
caught by surprise. But in July 1917 the German Army brought out a 
new type of agent, mustard gas, that not only attacked the respiratory sys- 
tem but also the skin, soaking through clothes and shoes and raising 
painful blisters. It was almost impossible to shield soldiers completely 
against mustard. It became the king of battle gases and caused four hun- 
dred thousand casualties before the armistice. 48 

Crude mustard gas (CWS symbol, H) was a mixture of approximately 
70 percent /?,/?'-dichloroethyl sulfide and 30 percent of sulphur and other 
sulphur compounds. It was an oily, brown liquid that evaporated slowly, 
giving off a vapor five times heavier than air. It was almost odorless in 
ordinary field concentrations but smelled like garlic or mustard in high 
concentrations— hence the name. It irritated and poisoned body cells, but 
generally several hours passed before symptoms appeared. 

The chief problem concerning mustard had to do with its purification. 
In World War I the CWS adopted the Levinstein process of the English 
in which ethylene reacted with sulphur monochloride under carefully con- 
trolled conditions. 47 The reaction at first glance seems simple, but actually 
it was rather complex and defied the efforts of CWS chemists to chart its 
course. The impurities were of such a nature that they could not be iso- 
lated and analyzed. They resisted separation from the main ingredient, 
/?,/?'-dichloroethyl sulfide, and caused or hastened decomposition of the 
sulfide. Decomposition was a disadvantage, first, because some of the re- 
sulting products corroded the storage container, making storage unsafe; 
secondly, other products settled out as a sludge that could change the bal- 
listic properties of shells or prevent the liquid from dispersing in the most 
favorable pattern; thirdly, a gas was evolved which built up pressure and 
threatened to burst containers; and, later, after airplane spray tanks were 
devised, the decomposition products made it impossible to thicken mus- 
tard for use in airplane spray attacks. 

Chemists of the research and development division investigated meth- 
ods of purifying mustard, but the processes proved to be impractical for 
large-scale use. 48 After the armistice the CWS disposed of the mustard 

46 Prentiss, Chemicals in War, p. 199. 

* T James K. Senior, "The Manufacture of Mustard Gas in World War I," Armed Forces Chem- 
ical Journal, XII (Sept-Oct 1958), 12-14, 16-17, 29; XII (Nov-Dec 1958), 26-29. 

4& Clarence J. West, Dichloroethyl Sulfide and Homologues, Chemical Warfare Monographs, 
vol. 40, 1 Aug 18. 



plants at Cleveland, Ohio, Buffalo, N.Y., Midland, Mich., and Hastings- 
on-Hudson, N.Y., and closed the plant at Edgewood. Research on mus- 
tard practically ceased until the early 1930's when the plant at Edgewood 
was restored. In 1937 this plant was put into production for a two-week 
period but not until 1940 was it opened for large-scale production. 49 

After Edgewood Arsenal began producing mustard again the CWS, 
assisted by the NDRC, examined a number of purification methods in- 
cluding distillation under low pressure, distillation using steam and organic 
liquids, extraction with solvents, treatment with ammonia, flash distilla- 
tion, and crystal fractionation. Of these processes only vacuum distillation, 
steam distillation, and solvent extraction proved to be feasible for use on 
a large scale. 

Purification by extraction dated back to 1918 when the CWS carried 
out laboratory and pilot plant investigations to see if /3,/^-dichloroethyl 
sulfide could be separated from impurities by dissolving it in gasoline or 
other solvents. The insoluble impurities remained in the residue and the 
sulfide was recovered from the solvent by distillation. 50 In 1942 this line 
of research was resumed at the CWS-MIT Development Laboratory. The 
chemists first obtained data on the solubility of the constituents of crude 
mustard in various solvents, and on rates of solution. Then, using glass 
extraction apparatus, they determined the data necessary for designing a 
large-scale extractor. 51 The NDRC assisted by awarding a contract to the 
Texas Co. for pilot plant studies. Texas Co. engineers proved that large- 
scale extraction was practical, but they found that the product was less 
pure than steam distilled mustard and that the process required complex, 
expensive equipment. 

Steam distillation, in which a current of steam was passed into the 
still to help carry away mustard, leaving the impurities behind as a tarry 
residue, had also been tested by the CWS back in 1918. In 1943 the CWS- 
MIT Development Laboratory re-examined this method and found that it 
produced a sulfide of high purity and fair stability, and that only simple 
equipment was required, 52 The Texas Co. then made a pilot plant inves- 

49 ( 1 ) Capt William Creasy and L. Wilson Greene, Six-Ton Levinstein HS Plant, Engineering 
Test. EATR 254, 14 Apr 39- (2) Edgewood Arsenal in Chemical Warfare Production, pp. 48-51. 

30 (1) Single, Successive and Continuous Extraction of Mustard Gas with Solvents. EAL 11, 24 
May 18. (2) Thomas G. Thompson and Harry Odeen, "The Solubility of £'-Dichloroethyl Sul- 
fide in Petroleum Hydrocarbons and Its Purification by Extraction with These Solvents," Industrial 
and Engineering Chemistry, 12 (1920), 1057-62. 

51 Scott W, Walker, Capt John H. Carpenter, and Theodore Q. Eliot, Purification of Levinstein 
H. MITMR 66, 23 May 44. 

52 Ibid. 



tigation to obtain data for the construction and operation of a full size 
plant. 53 It is possible that this process would have been the one utilized, 
as it seemed the most promising at the time, had not the CWS and 
NDRC come across a superior method, vacuum distillation. 

The CWS obtained the clue which led them to vacuum distillation in 
November 1943 when Capt. J. W. Eastes visited the University of Illinois 
to confer with NDRC chemists. He learned that they had distilled at low 
pressure mustard which had been washed with water, and that the tem- 
peratures in the distillation column indicated that fairly pure /3,/?'-dichloro- 
ethyl sulfide could be prepared in this way. 54 In other words, water 
removed certain impurities, and distillation removed the remainder. The 
CWS had investigated vacuum distillation earlier, but had never washed 
the crude mustard before distilling. 55 The Technical Division investigated 
the process and found that it produced a purer and more stable /?,/?'-di- 
chloroethyl sulfide than the other methods and that it was quite practical 
so far as apparatus was concerned. A pilot plant was first set up and then 
a full-scale plant. 56 In 1945 the service switched to the new process at 
Edgewood and at Rocky Mountain Arsenal. 57 By the end of the year 9,218,- 
357 pounds of distilled mustard (symbol, HD) had been produced. With 
the successful production of HD, production of the old Levinstein mus- 
tard was halted. 

Mustard, in terms of the quantity that the CWS stockpiled, was the 
most important American toxic agent. The plants at the Edgewood, Hunts- 
ville, Pine Bluff, and Rocky Mountain arsenals produced 174,610,000 
pounds, exclusive of the nine million pounds of the new distilled mus- 
tard, 58 

Since mustard evaporated slowly and thus remained effective from sev- 
eral hours to several days, depending upon the weather and terrain, its 
use was indicated on strategic targets or on enemy positions that would 
not be taken immediately by American troops. Thus, it could be used to 
"seal of? 5 an enemy area into which American troops were advancing, and 

53 W. E. Kuhn, G. B. Arnold, and L. E. Rudisch, Purificacion of Levinstein Mustard. OSRD 
3217, 5 Feb 44. 

54 Agencs III (Vesicants), monograph MS, vol. 3 of series History of Research and Develop- 
menc of the CWS (1 July 1940-31 December 1945), pp. 80-81. 

55 Elford D. Streeter, ''Continuous Vacuum Still for 'Mustard Gas, 1 " Industrial and Engineer- 
ing Chemistry, 11 (1919), 292-94. 

56 Capt William R. Wheeler, Capt Willard Marcy, Andrew E. Perry, and William R. Wilson, 
Vacuum Distillation of Levinstein H, Pilot Plant Study. TDMR 985, 17 Mar 45. 

57 History of Rocky Mountain Arsenal, 1945, vol. Ill, pt. I, pp. 647-715. 

58 Crawford, Cook, and Whiting, Statistics, "Procurement," p. 21. 



to hamper enemy lines of communication, airfields, landing beaches, artil- 
lery emplacements, and observation points. In withdrawals it could be used 
to contaminate the routes of enemy advance. 

For delivery of mustard by ground troops the CWS had 4.2-inch mor- 
tar shells, artillery shells, and land mines. The land mines were simply 
rectangular 1-gallon tin cans, such as were commonly used to hold varnish 
or syrup. They had a capacity of ten pounds of mustard. When exploded 
with a slow-burning fuze or by electrical means, the mines spread mustard 
over a considerable area. They were intended for use as booby traps or in 
contaminating fields, roads, and buildings. The CWS procured and stored 
(but did not fill) almost two million such mines.' 9 For possible use by 
troops, 540,746 4.2-inch mortar shells were filled and stored. For the artil- 
lery, 1,360,338 75-mm. Mk 64, 1,983,945 105-mm. M60, 784,836 155-mm. 
Mk 2Al, 290,810 155-mm. MllO, and smaller quantities of other shells, 
were readied. 60 

For carrying out aerial mustard attacks the CWS had chemical bombs 
and spray tanks. 61 The service procured 594,216 M70 and M70A1 115- 
pound bombs, developed by the Ordnance Department, and 539,727 
M47A1 and M47A2 100-pound bombs, developed by the CWS in the 
1930's. 62 The bombs were slightly over 4 feet long, about 8 inches in di- 
ameter, and contained a cylindrical burster. The bombs held from 60 to 
70 pounds of mustard, and when dropped contaminated an area of from 
15 to 40 yards in diameter, depending upon the altitude of the plane, 
hardness of the ground, thickness of vegetation, and so on. 63 

In addition to bombs the service procured 92,337 M10 30-gallon air- 
plane spray tanks. A plane flying at an altitude of 100 feet and carrying 
four of these tanks could spray mustard over an area 75 to 80 yards wide 
and 600 to 700 yards long. A larger tank, the M33 or M33A1, of which 
the service obtained 20,598, held more than twice as much mustard. A 
plane carrying two of these tanks could contaminate an area 75 to 100 
yards wide and 700 yards long. 64 

In anticipation of the use of spray tanks the CWS expended much ef- 
fort in trying to improve the spraying properties of mustard. In the 1930's 
the CWS had accepted the doctrine that mustard spray attacks would be 

5B Ibid., p. 24. 

60 CWS Report of Production, 1 Jan 40 through 31 Dec 45, pp. 28=2£! 

61 Spray tanks were also used to dispense liquid smoke agents. See |ch. IX, "Smoke." 
52 CWS Rpt of Production, 1 Jan 40 through 31 Dec 45, pp. 3-4. 

63 FM 3-6, Employment and Characteristics of Air Chemical Munitions, Oct 46. 
S4 Ibid. 



carried out by planes flying at low altitudes and moderate speeds. By 1941 
plans called for planes flying a mile high and at speeds up to 350 miles 
an hour. At high altitudes and speeds the wind could easily carry small 
droplets beyond the target or spread them over too wide an area. Small 
droplets also evaporated so quickly that they either might not reach the 
ground at all, or else become so minute as to be practically ineffective. 
To obtain the desired large droplets chemists began to search for mate- 
rials which would thicken mustard. 65 

After starting the project CWS learned that the British had already de- 
termined the best size for high altitude droplets and were adding various 
substances to mustard to increase the particle size. In co-operation with 
the NDRC the CWS tested more than seventy thickeners. 66 Finally, the 
search narrowed down to polystyrene and methyl methacrylate. After methyl 
methacrylate sheet scrap (Plexiglas and Lucite) became available from air- 
craft factories, the CWS adopted it as a mustard thickener. 67 

As things turned out the work of the CWS and NDRC on thickeners 
went for naught. High and low altitude spray tests carried out by the CWS 
in co-operation with the Signal Corps and Army Air Forces at Dugway 
Proving Ground from 1943 onward finally proved that unthickened mus- 
tard was a better substance for spraying purposes than thickened mustard, 
and thickening agents were given up. 68 

Like the American Army, the German Army placed much reliance on 
mustard. An examination of captured documents and gas dumps showed 
that they had produced more than twice as much mustard as any other 
agent for use in artillery shells of all calibers, mortar shells, 250- and 500- 
kilogram bombs, rockets, and spray tanks. 69 A notable feature was the 
tendency to use mustard in conjunction with thickening agents or with 
substances that would lower the freezing point. Arsenol, a mixture of ar- 
senic compounds, mainly diphenylchloroarsine, was widely used for this 

The Japanese, too, used mustard as a filling for shells and bombs. They 

65 Agents III (Vesicants), pp. 96-135. 

66 Miscellaneous Chemical Engineering Problems, Summary Technical Report of Div 11, National 
Defense Research Committee (Washington, 1946). 

67 (1) CWTC Item 1007, Standardization of Thickened Persistent Agent, HV, and Persistent 
Agent Thickener, VV, 5 May 44. (2) CWTC Item 1074, same title, 7 Jul 44. 

68 (1) Baum, Dugway Proving Ground, pp. 153-64. (2) CWTC Item 1277, Obsoletion of 
HV and W, 22 May 45. (3) CWTC Item 1346, same title, 24 May 45. 

G9 (1) German Chemical Warfare, p. 32. (2) L. Wilson Greene, "Documents Relating co the 
Capture of a German Gas Dump," Armed Forces Chemical Journal, III (January 1949), 26-32. 


favored a 50-50 mixture of mustard and lewisite, the lewisite acting to 
lower the freezing point and also as a toxic agent in its own right. 

In all probability if toxics had been called upon in World War II, 
mustard would have been used extensively whenever tactics pointed to the 
need of a persistent chemical agent. 


In 1918 a group of organic chemists headed by Dr. Winford Lee Lewis 
prepared a highly vesicant substance, dichloro (2-chlorovinyl) arsine, 
which they named lewisite. 70 The CWS leased the old Ben Hur Auto- 
mobile Co. building at Willoughby, Ohio, installed equipment, and began 
to produce the agent. 71 A shipment was on the seas headed for Europe 
when the war ended. The CWS kept the existence of lewisite and the 
site of its manufacture a strict secret during the war, but later revealed 
the information in scientific journals. 72 After the armistice the service closed 
down the Willoughby plant and did not prepare the compound again ex- 
cept in laboratory quantities until 1941. 

In the early method of manufacture, acetylene and arsenic trichloride 
were combined with the aid of a catalyst, aluminum chloride. The process 
was complicated, a large quantity of unwanted by-products were formed, 
and sometimes the crude product exploded as it was being distilled. In 
the early 1920's the CWS renewed its research on lewisite, but was un- 
able to continue the investigation to any great length because of the small 
staff and projects of higher priority. 73 In 1939 the service set out to de- 
sign a pilot plant that would produce lewisite by a continuous process 
using the old aluminum chloride catalyst. Shortly thereafter reports from 
Great Britain told of the successful use of mercuric chloride as a catalyst. 74 

70 (1) W. Lee Lewis, Summary of Work Done in Organic Unit No. 3, Offense Research Sec- 
tion, CWS, 26 Mar 19. CWS, H-209. (2) Clarence J. West, Organic Arsenic Derivatives, Chem- 
ical Warfare Monographs, vol. 21, pt. 4, April 1919. (3) The CWS symbol for lewisite in World 
War I was G-34. Later it was change to M-l, and finally to L. 

71 The plant is described in The Story of the Development Division, Chemical Warfare Service 
(1920), pp. 213-23, a souvenir book issued by General Electric Co. 

12 (1) W. Lee Lewis and G. A. Perkins, "The Beta-Chlorovinyl-Chloroarsines," Industrial and 
Engineering Chemistry, 15 (1923), 290-95. (2). W. Lee Lewis and H. W. Stiegler, "The Beta- 
Chlorovinyl-Arsines and their Derivatives," Journal of the American Chemical Society, 47 (1925), 

73 (1) G. E. Miller, The Laboratory Development of a Method of the Manufacture of M-l. 
EACD 239, 5 Jan 23. (2) A. B. Reed, Investigation of New Methods for the Preparation of M-l. 
EACD 352, 20 Aug 25. (3) H. V. Wright and H. G. Shaffer, Development of Manufacturing 
Process for M-l. EACD 367, 1 Mar 26. 

74 Production of Lewisite by a New Process, pt. I. Laboratory and Semi-Technical Develop- 
ment, 13 Dec 39, S.O./R/448. 



The CWS checked this work, found that the new catalyst was an improve- 
ment, and adopted it. 75 But since the mercuric chloride was a batch proc- 
ess, unlike the aluminum chloride process which had been continuous, 
engineers had to modify the design of the pilot plant. 76 Furthermore, with 
the new catalyst there was considerable corrosion of equipment. 77 As a 
result of the problems attending the change in process the production of 
lewisite was held up until the end of 1942, when plants were opened at 
Huntsville and Pine Bluff Arsenals. 78 In 1943 a larger plant was started 
at Rocky Mountain Arsenal. 79 

While the CWS was erecting and starting plants, evidence was accumu- 
lating that lewisite might have only limited use. The service had no World 
War I data to use in evaluating lewisite since the war ended before the 
agent reached France. The information gained from field tests between 1920 
and 1940 was not sufficient for World War II. 80 To obtain additional data 
the CWS conducted toxicological and field tests. 81 Results indicated that 
lewisite was of less value than had been supposed because there was dif- 
ficulty in setting up a high concentration in the field, the gas mask gave 
complete protection against the vapor, the vapor had a distinctive odor 
that made it readily recognizable, and the agent could be readily decon- 
taminated. In addition, British chemists had come upon a powerful thera- 
peutic agent, DTH or BAL (British Antilewisite), that destroyed lewisite 
on contact. 82 

Consideration of all these facts led the CWS to close the lewisite plants 
in 1943, after 20,000 tons had been produced. 83 Because of the possible 
utility of lewisite under certain limited conditions, a supply was retained 

75 (1) Capt N. H. Hale, M-l Process Development, Use of Mercuric Chloride as the Catalyst. 
TDMR 280, 24 Apr 41. (2) Capt R. M. Cone, M-l Process Development, Pilot Plant Production 
of M-l by a Continuous Process Using Mercuric Chloride as Catalyst. TDMR 354, 6 Mar 42, 

7fi M-l Manufacturing Plant- 194 1 Design. ETF 112.62-1. 

77 A. M. Reeves and Capt N. H. Hale, M-l Process Development, Mercuric Chloride Cata- 
lytic Process, Corrosion Resistance of Miscellaneous Materials to Mercuric Chloride, Catalyst Solu- 
tion and Crude M-l. TDMR 326, 21 Nov 41. 

7S (1) History of Huntsville Arsenal, pp. 436-55. (2) Pine Bluff Arsenal, Preliminary History, 
Sec. VII. 

79 History of Rocky Mountain Arsenal, 1945, vol. Ill, pt. I, pp. 767-864. 

80 (1) J. E. Mills, H. W. Walker, R. Macy, B. G. Macintire, B. F. Smith, and H. Scheer, Lew- 
isite Field Tests. EACD 411, 28 Feb 31. (2) E. L. Wardell, Lewisite (M-l), 1940 Summary of 
Physiologic and Toxicologic Data. EATR 285, 15 Mar 41. 

S1 (I) Capt Fred E. Culp, Lewisite, Dispersion as Airplane Chemical Spray. TDMR 473, 20 
Nov 42. (2) Project Co-ordination Staff, Relative Value of Lewisite, 15 Jun 45. ETF 1 12.5. 

82 A. L. Stocken and R. H. S. Thompson, The Treatment of Arsenical Burns with Dithiol 
Compounds, Oxford Univ, Research Item 21, Report 33, 26 Apr 41. 

K ^ CWS Report of Production, 1 Jan 1940 through 31 Dec 45, p. 20. 



throughout the war. Afterwards the CWS sank a large quantity at sea, 
and finally abandoned the agent completely. 84 

As has been mentioned, lewisite, because of its ability to lower the freez- 
ing point of mustard (which was only 58° F.), was used in the form of 
lewisite-mustard mixtures by the Japanese. The Russians also employed 
lewisite for this purpose. The Germans were familiar with L-H mixtures 
for cold weather, but they preferred to use other arsenical liquids in place 
of lewisite. 

Nitrogen Mustards 

In 1935 there appeared an article by Kyle Ward, Jr., describing the 
preparation of a new compound, 2,2',2" trichlorotriethylamine, and call- 
ing attention to its marked vesicant action. 85 The CWS prepared and 
studied a sample of the substance, but found that it was less vesicant than 
mustard. 86 Early in World War II the CWS learned through intelligence 
that the Germans were working with the same compound and with re- 
lated compounds— which by now had gained the name of the "Nitrogen 
Mustards" because of their analogy to mustard gas. 87 

These reports led the CWS, NDRC, and British laboratories to syn- 
thesize and test a large number of nitrogen mustards. Three compounds 
known as HN-1 (N-ethyl(2,2'dichloro)diethylamine), HN-2 (N-methyl- 
(2,2 / dichloro)diethylamine), and HN-3 (2,2',2" trichlorotriethylamine) were 
most promising because of their vesicant action and their lack of odor, 
and these the CWS studied intensively. 

The British concentrated mainly on HN-2 and HN-3, but the Ameri- 
cans felt that HN-1 would be the most useful. Edgewood Arsenal set up 
a small pilot plant in 1942. Using data obtained from this plant, the CWS 
in 1943 set up a larger plant at Pine Bluff Arsenal capable of producing 
one ton per day. 

In the meantime field evaluation showed that the 1936 estimate had 
been correct, and that the nitrogen mustards were not as potent as mus- 
tard gas. The plant at Pine Bluff turned out about 100 tons of HN-1 over 

84 CCTC Item 3114, Obsoletion of Lewisite, 2 Nov 5 5. 

85 Kyle Ward, Jr., "Chlorinated Ethylamines, A New Type of Vesicant," Journal of the Amer- 
ican Chemical Society, 57 (1935), 914-16. 

86 T. P. Dawson, W. J. H. B. Wells, and C. W. MacFarlan, Preparation and Vesicant Action 
of Tris(B-chloroethyl) amine and Tris(B-chloroethyl) amine Hydrochloride. EATR 281, 22 Mar 39. 

87 Nellie M. Cone, Possible Chemical Warfare Agents of the Axis Powers. TDMR 6l6, 26 
Apr 1943. 



a period of four months, mainly to mislead German intelligence, and then 
closed down. 88 

The Germans had much more faith in nitrogen mustards than the Ameri- 
cans, and during the war turned out about 2,000 tons of HN-3. At the 
end of the war they had on hand 105-mm. and 150-mm. artillery shells, 
and 150-mm. rockets, filled with HN-3. 89 


Both sides used tear gas early in World War I to harass opposing troops. 
Troops exposed to tear gas had to wear masks for long periods of time 
and were very uncomfortable in the old-fashioned, heavy, bulky devices. 

During the war the French, Germans, and British introduced a greater 
variety of tear gases than any other class of agents. After the United States 
entered the conflict, American chemists investigated chloroacetophenone 
(CWS symbol, CN) and found that it had the advantage of being cheaper 
and less corrosive to the inside of shells than other tear gases. The CWS 
developed methods of producing the agent, but the war ended before large- 
scale manufacture got underway. 

After the armistice the service selected chloroacetophenone as the 
standard American tear gas. It erected a manufacturing plant at Edgewood 
Arsenal (1922), and developed a number of munitions for dispersing solid 
CN or solutions of CN in the field. The solid could be scattered from 
shells and grenades by means of high explosives, and volatilized from pots 
and candles by means of heat. Solutions of CN in chloroform (CNC), 
with chloropicrin in chloroform (CNS), and in carbon tetrachloride and 
benzene (CNB) could be thrown out by grenades, shells, and high pres- 
sure cylinders. 

In 1941 the CWS erected a modern plant with a rated capacity of one 
ton of CN per day. This became the sole CWS plant in 1943 when the 
old 1922 plant was dismantled. 90 The manufacture of chloroacetophenone 
involved three steps: the production of monochloroacetic acid, the chlo- 
rination of the acid to chloroacetyl chloride, and condensation of chloro- 
acetyl chloride with benzene in the presence of a catalyst. The CWS was 
aware of another method that was potentially capable of being adapted to 
large-scale manufacture, the chlorination of acetophenone. If this could be 

38 Report of Activities of the Technical Division During World War II, OC CWS, p. 200. 

89 German Chemical Warfare, pp. 32, 126-27. 

90 History of Edgewood Arsenal, pp. 553-54. 



done satisfactorily the service was assured of a dependable source of low- 
cost CN. 

In 1944 the Solvoy Process Co. contracted to develop the process and 
obtain data necessary for construction and operation of a plant. As events 
turned out the new plant was not needed, but the technical information 
was at hand in case of an emergency. 91 

In addition to the development work on CN the CWS tested new 
compounds for their lacrimatory effect. The Universal Oil Products Co. 
and Du Pont suggested other possibilities. But none of the new tear pro- 
ducing chemicals proved superior to the standard agent. 

During the war the CWS produced at Edgewood Arsenal and pur- 
chased from the Pennsylvania Salt Manufacturing Co. and the Lake Erie 
Chemical Co. a total of 1,281,560 pounds of chloroacetophenone. 92 A por- 
tion of this went to make up 5,282,000 pounds of CNB tear gas solution, 
another portion went into 3,309,000 pounds of CNS solution. 93 Almost 
all of this solution was stored, but some was used to fill 4.2-inch chemi- 
cal mortar shells, and 75-mm., 105-mm., and 155-mm. artillery shells, 

Solid chloroacetophenone went into pots and grenades. The tear gas 
pot was a modified version of the ordinary tin can and was filled with 
1.2 pounds of a CN-powder mixture. When the pot was ignited by a match- 
head, heat from the burning powder volatilized the CN. The pot gave 
off CN smoke for several minutes. Edgewood Arsenal filled a total of 
785,383 pots for possible use in the war. 94 

The tear gas grenade was one of the first munitions developed by the 
CWS after World War I. The body was a small tin can having six holes 
to let out smoke. The filling contained CN and a powder that provided 
the heat to volatilize the CN. During World War II, the CWS filled 
689,610 M7 grenades, each containing about six-tenths of a pound of tear 
gas mixture, at the Edgewood and Huntsville Arsenals. 95 

Since the CWS had learned back in the 1920's that tear gas grenades 
were not enough to drive determined men from their posts, they adopted 
the practice of adding another agent that would cause vomiting and other 
reactions. Gradually they perfected a mixture of chloroacetophenone and 
adamsite (CWS symbol, DM), as a filling for grenades. Adamsite caused 

91 Development of Process For Manufacture of CN, Final, 14 Sep 44. ETF 141.6-10. 

92 Consolidated Chemical Commodity Report, p, 73. 

93 Crawford, Cook, and Whiting, Statistics, "Procurement," p. 21. 
^Ibid., p. 23. 

^Ibid., p. 21. 



nausea, pain in the chest, sneezing, coughing, headache, and other disor- 
ders. It had another advantage— it acted so rapidly that the victims were 
unable to pick up the grenades and throw them back, as they did occa- 
sionally with ordinary tear gas grenades. Between 1941 and 1944, the 
Edgewood and Huntsville Arsenals filled 582,327 M6 grenades, each hold- 
ing about six-tenths of a pound of chloroacetophenone-adamsite mixture. 96 

In 1943 the Provost Marshal General requested the CWS to develop a 
tear gas grenade with the size, shape, and weight of a baseball for mili- 
tary police to use in breaking up riots. The finished grenade, standardized 
in February 1945, was a plastic ball holding about two-tenths of a pound 
of CN, fused to burst 2-3 seconds after it left the hand and before it could 
be picked up by a rioter and thrown back. The service produced more than 
10,000 of these riot grenades by the end of the year. 97 

Tear gas rockets, for possible use as antitank missiles, were first in- 
vestigated by the CWS in 1942 with assistance from the California Insti- 
tute of Technology and the National Bureau of Standards. While this 
work was in progress the Ordnance Department developed and standard- 
ized the antitank high explosive rocket, M6. The CWS thereupon turned 
to the Ordnance rocket and developed heads to carry chemical agents. The 
antitank tear gas rocket was finally dropped, but the idea took a new turn 
in 1943 when the Provost Marshal General's office requested a rocket for 
use, like the tear gas grenade, in controlling riots. The CWS modified 
the rocket head to meet the new requirements, but the problems associ- 
ated with ballistics, bursters, and size proved so difficult that in 1944 the 
project was canceled. 

The Germans and Japanese, like the Americans, used CN. The Ger- 
mans employed it in two forms, one being solid CN, while the other was 
a mixture of CN, wax, and explosive. The explosive mixture was used 
in 250-kilogram and 500-kilogram air burst bombs, from which CN was 
dispersed in lumps. 98 The Japanese had on hand an unusual tear gas can- 
dle containing a propellant charge capable of tossing a one-quarter pound 
chunk of CN a distance of 130 to 300 yards, depending on the angle of 
elevation. For closer quarters a grenade containing a solution of CN in 
carbon tetrachloride was available. 99 

In tactics, tear gases would probably not have been as useful in World 

96 Ibid. 

97 Ibid. 

98 German Chemical Warfare, pp. 130-32. 

99 CW Intel Bull No. 8, Japanese Chemical Warfare Weapons & Equipment, 15 Feb 43. 



War II as they were in 1914-18. Positions did not remain static as they had 
in World War I, and the opportunities for harassment would not have 
been as great. In certain cases, however, such as attacks upon Japanese 
caves and bunkers, or upon isolated positions, in the Pacific Islands, the 
gases might have brought about surrender or have driven the enemy into 
the open. 


The German Army introduced vomiting gases or sternutators into 
chemical warfare in July 1917, as an ingenious method of penetrating the 
canisters of Allied gas masks. They first used a solution of diphenylchloro- 
arsine (CWS symbol, DA), which evaporated and left minute particles of 
DA floating in the air. The canisters at that time were able to trap true 
gases, the particles of which were molecular in size, but they could not 
retain the larger particles of DA, which were colloidal in size. Therefore 
the DA passed through the canister into the mask and was inhaled by the 
soldier. It irritated his eyes, nostrils, throat, and chest, causing nausea and 
vomiting. The victim had to tear off his mask, exposing himself to lethal 
gases fired at the same time. 

After the United States entered the war, American chemists investi- 
gated the possibility of manufacturing DA. The German process proved 
to be complicated. Still, the CWS might have gone into production if 
chemists had not found a related compound that could be manufactured 
more easily. This was diphenylaminechloroarsine, which was named adam- 
site after the chemist Roger Adams. 

The United States did not produce vomiting gas in time for use by 
American troops. In the 1920's the CWS operated, for a brief time, a pilot 
plant for the production of DA and DM at Edgewood Arsenal, but it 
did not need a full size plant since DM could be purchased from the chemi- 
cal industry. 

The development work, instead, concentrated on means for spreading 
sternutators in the field. This could be done by explosion, which shat- 
tered the agent into a dust or mist, or by heat, which produced smoke. 
Engineers tested irritant smoke shells, ranging in size from 75-mm. to 
105-mm., filled with solid agents and high explosives (HE), or with solu- 
tions of agents and HE, up to 1942, but the service did not produce any 
for combat use. Smoke candles, which were simply cans filled with a mix- 
ture of agent and fuel, proved to be much more efficient for dispersing 
DM. The early candle, dating from 1920-22, was displaced in 1941 by a 



new model, M2, which differed in having a better fuel. The M2 weighed 
9 pounds, held 2 pounds of DM, and burned from three to five minutes. 
Edgewood Arsenal filled 92,485 candles during the war, with a portion of 
the 644,589 pounds of DM purchased by the CWS. 100 

The Germans employed DM as a filling for base ejection and HE shells, 
candles, and bombs; and DA solution as a filling for rockets. 101 The 
Japanese relied upon another arsenical vomiting gas, diphenylcyanoarsine 
(DC), as a filling for mortar shells, artillery shells, and candles. 102 

Undoubtedly vomiting gases would have found much less use in World 
War II than they had in 1917-18 because the canister of the gas mask had 
been improved by the addition of filters which held back fine particles. 
In certain limited situations, such as attacks upon isolated posts or upon 
surrounded caves or bunkers, the vomiting agents might have been em- 
ployed to bring about surrender or weaken resistance. 

An investigation of the status of chemical warfare within Germany 
made after V-E Day disclosed that it had produced a total of approxi- 
mately 78,000 tons of agents— mustard, tabun, arsenol, chloroacetophenone, 
phosgene, adamsite, nitrogen mustard, and diphenylchloroarsine— during 
the Hitlerian period. 103 In addition, the Germans had appreciable stocks 
of Italian, French, Greek, Polish, Hungarian, and Yugoslavian agents at 
their disposal. The quantity of war gases produced by Japan was placed 
at one-tenth of the German production. American production, on the other 
hand, amounted to more than 146,000 tons of chemicals— mustard, chloro- 
acetophenone, phosgene, adamsite, nitrogen mustard, hydrogen cyanide, 
cyanogen chloride, and lewisite— from 1940 to the end of 1945. 104 

Although the United States did not employ toxic agents during World 
War II, the money and time that went into the research, development, field 
tests, and production was not wasted. The armed forces had supplies of 
agents and equipment with which they could have waged warfare ener- 
getically if necessary. In this sense the work of the CWS was America's 
insurance against chemical warfare. 

100 (1) Consolidated Chemical Commodity Report, p. 80. (2) CWS Rpt of Production, 1 Jan 
40 through 31 Dec 45, p. 5. 

101 German Chemical Warfare, pp. 127-32. 

102 (1) CW Intel Bull No. 8. (2) CW Intel Bull No. 49, pt. I, 1 Feb 45. 

103 German Chemical Warfare, pp. 31-51. 

104 Compiled from Crawford, Cook, and Whiting, Statistics, "Procurement"; CWS Rpt of Pro- 
duction; and Consolidated Chemical Commodity Report. 


Protection Against Toxic Agents 

"Unfortunately, except for blister gases, there is no practical method 
of detecting gases other than the sense of smell/' wrote Brig. Gen. Alden H. 
Waitt early in the war. 1 But sensory tests were hazardous and uncertain, 
particularly for chemicals with little odor or which were masked by the 
enemy or by field conditions, and the CWS had long sought rapid, fool- 
proof chemical and physical tests. 

By March 1942 a number of blister gas detectors, all of which were 
based on color changes in a dye base and had their origins in British and 
American developments in 1918, had been standardized. They included 
the M4 vapor detector kit, capable of registering even faint concentrations 
of nitrogen and sulphur mustards; M5 liquid vesicant detector paint; M6 
liquid vesicant detector paper; and M7 vesicant detector crayon, sensitive 
to mustard and lewisite. 2 Although the CWS had not discovered a better 
dye base than that developed by the British, NDRC chemists at the Uni- 
versity of Chicago, at the University of Virginia, and at Ohio State im- 
proved its composition and developed new detector materials. 3 

An excellent detector kit proved to be the M9, developed with NDRC 
help in the CWS laboratories at Edgewood and MIT and standardized in 
July 1943. 4 The Army considered this compact, efficient, and widely used kit 
one of the significant developments of the CWS defensive research program. 
Any soldier could learn to operate it after brief training, and it proved itself 
during the war in the inspection of chemical munitions at U.S. Army depots 
at home and abroad. 

1 Brig. Gen. Alden H. Waitt, Gas Warfare (New York: Duell, Sloan, and Pearce, 1942), 
p. 205. 

2 CWTC Item 483, Military Characteristics and Standardization of Chemical Agent Detectors, 
3L Mar 42. 

^Noyes, Chemistry, pp. 157-62, 166-74. 

4 (1) CWTC Item 783, Standardization of Kit, Chemical Agent Detector, M9, 23 Jul 43. (2) 
Hemleben, CWS-MIT Development Laboratory, pp. 73-82. The M4 Kit was made obsolete by 
CWTC Item 1476, 4 Oct 45. 



Superior to the M4 vapor detector kit in every respect, the M9 was 
an adsorption type of detector, consisting of a hand pump and nearly two 
hundred small tubes of reagent dyes in silica gel, capable of detecting even 
slight concentrations of such war gases as the mustards, phosgene, and 
* cyanogen chloride. The discovery by Weldon G. Brown at the Univer- 
sity of Chicago of a sensitive and specific detector for any war gas react- 
ing to alkali (such as the mustards) was of signal importance in the 
development of the kit. Tests devised later for lewisite, carbon monoxide, 
and hydrogen cyanide w r ere at once incorporated in the kit. 

After a requirement was established in March 1943, the laboratory at 
MIT also got up an agent sample collection kit, the MIT-El 2, which en- 
abled the user to get samples of airborne agents as well as agents in con- 
taminated soil and to keep them without loss or decomposition until they 
could be delivered to a field laboratory. This was standardized in Au- 
gust 1945 as the M12 agent sampling kit and, along with a newly developed 
M10 chemical agent analyzer kit and the Mil smoke identification kit, was 
made a component of the M3 mobile laboratory unit. 7 

Unknown to the American Army, the Germans had discovered nerve 
gases, a new T class of toxic compounds. The CWS first learned of the exist- 
ence of these agents after the war was over. None of the reagents in de- 
tector kits, nor any other U.S. detector devices, were sufficiently rapid or 
reliable to warn in time of the presence of nerve gases. In liquid form 
these agents reacted with the detector paint in the American kit, but no 
substance in it could detect the agents in spray or vapor form. Had these 
gases been used it is likely that only the onset of clinical symptoms would 
have revealed their presence. Despite the accomplishments of the United 
States in developing sensitive methods of detection, the definite evidence 
in 1945 that the Germans had nerve gases reopened the whole problem 
of detection. 

As for enemy methods of detection, the Germans had a powder con- 
taining a dye which, when sprinkled on liquid mustard, changed color. 
German vesicant detector cards worked in the same manner as American 
vesicant detector paper, but were more sensitive to some reagents, and gave 
a more sharply defined color. For testing the air outside fortifications, the 
Germans had an apparatus with six pumps, operated electrically or manu- 

5 TiM 3-290, 27 Mar 44, pp. 70-78. 
B Noyes, Chemistry, pp. 217-19. 

7 CWTC Item 1407, Standardization of Chemical Warfare Agent Detection and Sampling Kits 

2 Aug 45. 



ally, which forced air through six tubes of reagents. A German detector 
kit, comparable to CWS model M9, contained tubes of reagents and a 
small hand pump to force air through the tubes. 8 

The Japanese also had detector kits, a number of which were captured 
during the war. One of these, tested at the CWS-MIT laboratory late in 
1943, was larger and heavier than the CWS model M9, had no reagent 
for nitrogen mustard, gave uneven results, and allowed misleading inter- 
pretations of tests owing to the faintness of some reactions. On the other 
hand, a naval-type detector examined shortly thereafter, although also with- 
out a test for nitrogen mustard, compared favorably with the M9 in de- 
sign, simplicity, and effectiveness of operation, and had several good points 
that were considered for possible inclusion in later American models. 9 

The Gas Mask 

Gas masks were the earliest devices for protecting soldiers against toxic 
agents. The German Army supplied crude masks to the troops who 
released chlorine at Ypres ? the first chemical attack of World War I. 

8 (1) Hemleben, CWS-MIT Development Laboratory, pp. 202-03, 210-12. (2) Intel Div, 
OC CWS, ETOUSA, German Chemical Warfare Materiel, p. IV-C-1. 

9 (1) Hemleben, CWS-MIT Development Laboratory, pp. 201-04. (2) Off, Ch Cml O, 
USASOS, Southwest Pacific Area, Japanese Chemical Warfare, Hereafter cited as Japanese Chem- 
ical Warfare. 



Between 1915 and 1918 the warring 
nations developed a variety of masks, 
some completely covering the head 
and others covering only the face. 
American troops in France first wore 
French and British gas masks, then 
the American C. E. (Corrected Eng- 
lish) mask, and finally the R.F.K. 
box respirator, a modification of the 
British mask by Ralph R. Richard- 
son, E. L. Flory, and Waldemar 
Kops of the CWS. The R.F.K. gas 
mask consisted of a canister, a fabric 
facepiece with nose clip, mouth- 
piece, and hosetube, and a carrier 
for the two units. 10 It provided ade- 
quate protection against the agents 
used on the Western Front, but 
was uncomfortable if worn for long 
periods. After the war came the 
1919-model gas mask, consisting of a facepiece and hosetube of rubber, 
covered on one side with elastic stockinette, a canister, and a carrier as- 
sembly. The trapezoidal facepiece was fitted with circular eyepieces of 
laminated flat glass, deflectors to discharge air over the eyepieces to pre- 
vent fogging, an outlet valve, an angletube, and a head harness. The can- 
ister was of the radical flow type containing a filter unit for the removal 
of solid and liquid particles from incoming air and charcoal and soda 
lime absorbents for the disposal of gases. This mask was designated MI- 
I-I and adopted as standard in 1921. It was supplied in five sizes and 
with improvements remained the standard U.S. Army gas mask until 1940. 
After the United States entered World War II, substantial quantities of 
this service mask, then designated the M1A2-9A1-4, were still available 
in reserve stocks. 11 
In improving the mask during World War II the CWS sought to 

Army Photographer Wearing 
Service Gas Mask with M1A2 face- 
piece, Camp Robinson, Arkansas, Jan- 
uary 1942. 

10 A detailed description of the R.F.K. mask may be found in Fries and West, Chemical War- 
fare, pp. 210-20. 

11 (1) The Ml and its improved versions, the MlAl (1934) and MlA2 (1935), were not 
declared obsolete until 1944. CWTC Item 1193, Obsoletion of Stockinette Type Facepieces and 
Large Size Gas Mask Carrier, 26 Oct 44. (2) The model of a gas mask was designated by the 



make it more comfortable, increase 
the degree of protection, and to 
make it lighter. One of these steps 
was to develop a fully molded face- 
blank. It eliminated the vulnerable 
chin seam, the angletube, separate 
deflectors, and multiple metal parts 
in the eyepiece assembly, and it 
also brought the lenses of the eye- 
piece closer to the wearer's eyes, 
thereby enlarging his field of vision 
and reducing the dead air space in 
the facepiece. This molded facepiece 
also resulted in lower manufactur- 
ing costs by permitting mass pro- 
duction methods of assembly, in 
contrast to the hand work required 
in the older masks. The new serv- 
ice mask was heavy and not water- 
proof, but it was an excellent de- 
vice for protecting the wearer against toxic vapors. 

Because there was urgent demand for the new fully molded facepieces, 
the CWS provided only three sizes of molds for its manufacturers. 12 
These molds were based on fitting tests on a limited number of workers 
at Edgewood Arsenal. Variation in the manufacturers' molds made it pos- 
sible to fit 90 percent of the troops with the so-called universal size, and 
large and small sizes were provided for special cases. Their wearability was 
confirmed in tests on more than a thousand soldiers at Camp Edwards, 
Mass. Difficulties in tooling for the production of these facepieces pre- 
cluded further changes. 

The chief gas mask problem, the CWS felt, was not the faceblank but 
better absorbents and filters for the canister. The possibility of meeting 
with new Axis toxic agents and the development of war gases by the United 

Soldier Wearing Service Gas 
Mask with M.2A2 facepiece during 
maneuvers, Camp Polk, Louisiana, June 

three "M" numbers of the facepiece, canister, and carrier, respectively. ''A" represents an altera- 
tion in the basic model design. In models under development, "E" stood for experimental and 
"R" for revision. (3) A study of World War II masks and their components appears in the S. H. 
Katz, "Status of the U.S. Army Service Gas Masks," Armed Forces Chemical Journal, II (October 
1947), pp. 32-40. 

12 They included the Industrial, Dryden, Continental, Sun, Acushnet Process, Firestone, Good- 
year, General Tire, and U.S. Rubber Companies. 



States made it desirable to find better canister materials. The first attack 
on the problem was on the absorbents, and NDRC contracts were set up 
for fundamental studies at the University of Illinois, at Johns Hopkins 
University, and at Northwestern University. 13 

Whetlerite, a copper impregnated, activated charcoal, was the absor- 
bent then used in the M9AI canister. 14 Mixed with 20 percent soda lime, 
this filling removed such standard gases as chloropicrin, phosgene, mus- 
tard, and lewisite. It furnished only a fair degree of protection against hydro- 
gen cyanide and cyanogen chloride, a degree thought particularly danger- 
ous in the case of hydrogen cyanide because glass grenades containing this 
agent had been found among captured Japanese munitions. Initial studies 
at Northwestern University confirmed the British finding that the addition 
of silver to the charcoal in the canister greatly improved protection against 
phosgene and hydrogen cyanide, and the CWS adopted this new compos- 
ite whetlerite early in 1942. 15 Studies later that year indicated that soda 
lime, included in the canister since World War I to assist in the adsorp- 
tion of volatile acid gases such as phosgene and hydrogen cyanide, was no 
longer needed and it was removed. 16 

The NDRC meanwhile tackled the problem of increasing the cyanogen 
chloride absorbing power of canisters to meet the possibility that the CWS 
might adopt this substance as an agent. Research at Northwestern Univer- 
sity led to the addition of chromium to the silver and copper already in 
the charcoal, a measure which considerably improved the cyanogen chloride 
protection of the canister, even under the severest semitropical weather 
conditions that could be simulated in the laboratory. The service adopted 
this third type of charcoal (Type ASC) in July 1943 and incorporated it 
in the M9A2 canister. 17 Shortly thereafter, scientists developed highly sat- 
isfactory wood and coal charcoals as substitutes for the unobtainable coco- 
nut charcoal used before the war. 18 As a result, the charcoal and its 
impregnites in the 1943-44 canister gave the United States an absorbent 
considered better than those in either the German or Japanese canisters. 

13 NDRC research is reported in Noyes, Chemistry, pp. 296-313. 
14 CWTC Item 40, Canister, Service, M1XA1 -Standardization, 12 Sep 39. 

15 (1) Lt Col Charles E. Loucks, Visit to Porton Experimental Station. London MA Rpts 
41524, 19 Aug 40, p. 1, ETF 550E284. (2) CWTC Item 535, Standardization of Light Weight 
Service Gas Mask, Military Requirement and Military Characteristics, 4 Aug 42. 

16 The Value of Soda Lime in Gas Adsorbents, OSRD 437, 6 Mar 42. 

17 CWTC Item 772, Standardization of Canister, Service, M9A2, 23 Jul 43. 

38 Saul Hormats, Development of the Impregnated Charcoals for U.S. Military Gas Mask 
Canisters. TDMR 1201, 13 Feb 46. 



The second phase of canister improvement involved filters, incorporated 
to remove solid toxic particles breathed into the gas mask canister. 19 The 
filter paper in all canisters in 1940 consisted of a cellulose fiber mat known 
as alpha web, which had recently been improved by impregnating it with 
fine carbon particles. This filter assured substantial protection against toxic 
smokes, such as adamsite, but it increased the resistance to air flow and 
it offered only limited protection against liquid particles. The development 
of new mechanical smoke generators necessitated further work on the filter, 
because fine oil particles of the smoke deteriorated the impregnated paper. 
Gas mask experts tested rock wool, fiber glass, and other materials as paper 
substitutes, and finally found that asbestos, a material in British, German, 
Japanese, and Russian filters, added to the alpha web made the canister 
safe against minute droplets of oil. 20 

The CWS-MIT Development Laboratory, in co-operation with indus- 
trial paper companies and Arthur D. Little, Inc., produced three types of 
asbestos bearing paper, each of increasing effectiveness. After 1942 they 
were used successively in place of the carbon-impregnated filter paper in 
the M9A2 and MlOAl canisters. 21 Further research led to the substitution 
for the asbestos of a paper fiber made from esparto grass, obtained from 
Morocco. The new fi^er had less air resistance in the canister while it 
maintained a filtering ipacity comparable to asbestos. The service further 
improved this filter material by treating it with dimethyl silicane, which 
rendered the paper highly water repellent— a useful property when troops 
had to ford streams while carrying the gas mask. 

The M2 type service mask previously described was, from the point of 
view of the technical staff of CWS, an excellent product. Anticipating that 
gas would be used in the war, the service had designed a mask that would 
provide troops with the most complete protection possible against gas 
attack. The mask was rugged and efficient, but it was heavy (weighing 
almost five pounds with its steel box canister), bulky, inconvenient, and 
therefore unsuited to the combat requirements of World War II. Troops 
in training in 1940 and 1941 wore the mask unwillingly and only for gas 
exercises, leaving it behind on combat maneuvers. When the War Depart- 

19 NDRC filter studies of W. H. Rodebush at the University of Illinois and E. P. Stevenson 
and T. L. Wheeler of Arthur D. Little, Inc., are reported in Noyes, Chemistry, pp. 265-72. Those 
at MIT appear in Hemleben, CWS-MIT Development Laboratory, pp. 120-25, 128-30. 

20 CWTC Item 759. 

21 (1) CWTC Item 772. (2) CWTC Item 827, Standardization of Canister, Service, MlOAl, 
15 Oct 43, 



ment insisted that the mask be worn in all exercises, the ground arms 
reacted at once. The design had to be changed if troops were to fight effec- 
tively while wearing it. 22 

The requirement established in January 1942 for a lighter and less cum- 
bersome mask for combat troops resulted in the development of the light- 
weight service gas mask. With a smaller, rounded canister, a shorter hose 
and a simpler carrier, this mask weighed pounds, yet because of better 
absorbents and new filter materials, it provided almost the same, though 
not as prolonged, protection as the heavyweight service mask. 23 One short- 
coming of the new mask was the increased breathing resistance, caused 
principally by the smaller canister. Nevertheless, when Cavalry, Infantry, 
and Armored Force Boards, as well as Airborne Command tests of the 
new mask were completed, the Army Ground Forces recommended that 
the mask be issued as quickly as possible. 

The mobility of modern warfare, its jungle operations, and particularly 
the increase in amphibious operations brought demands from the theater 
commanders and the Army Ground Forces for an even lighter and more 
compact gas mask, and especially for one that could be waterproofed. The 
requirement suggested a snout type mask such as was used by German 
assault troops. This type would not have an awkward hosetube, would 
weigh less than two and a half pounds, be waterproof or carried in a water- 
proof carrier, offer the same protection as the lightweight service mask, 
and not interfere with the soldier's firing in a prone position. 24 

The problem was turned over to the CWS-MIT Development Labora- 
tory. In a series of tests of experimental models by the 544th Engineers 
of the 4th Amphibian Brigade in combat exercises at Camp Edwards, it 
appeared that a cheek-mounted canister gas mask of the type used by the 
British, rather than a snout type, would provide the least interference with 
combat activities. Technicians therefore modified the lightweight service 
mask faceblank by boring a hole in the left cavity and fitting the canister 
rigidly to the cheek of the blank. A new aluminum Mil canister, adapted 
from the German design and two-thirds lighter than the previous steel 
canister, had a water-repellent smoke filter and a wide, deep bed of char- 
coal. It was much lighter, yet it provided almost as much protection as 
the lightweight service mask canister. Finally, they made a waterproof car- 

22 Interv, Hisc Off with Col George J. B. Fisher, 8 Aug 54. 

23 CWTC Item 587, Standardization of Light Weight Service Gas Mask, 29 Sep 42. 

2* CWTC Item 722, Military Requirement and Military Characteri sties for Assault Gas Mask, 
11 Jun 43. 



Service Gas Mask with M4 facepiece worn by women in training at Camp Breck- 
inridge, Kentucky. 

rier for the mask from butyl rubber-coated cotton duck. Its multiple fold- 
ing closure made the entire contents of the carrier watertight. It was later 
reported that in mishaps during amphibious operations, the bouyancy pro- 
vided by this carrier saved the lives of a number of soldiers. 25 The 
assembled units, weighing three pounds, were standardized as the M5-11- 
7 combat gas mask in July 1944, after production had already started. 26 
Over half a million of the combat masks were produced, and this was the 
mask which was issued to certain assault elements for the invasion of Nor- 
mandy and which was carried ashore in later amphibious operations. 

Among a number of special masks developed before the war was the 
optical gas mask, standardized in 1939- This mask, originally requested by 
the Navy and later by AGF for Signal, Coast Artillery, and Antiaircraft 
personnel using aircraft warning and fire control instruments, contained 

25 Katz, "Status of Army Service Gas Masks," Armed Forces Chemical Journal, II (October, 
1947), p. 39. 

2fi (1) CWTC Item 1093, Standardization of Mask, Gas, Service, Combat, M5-11-7, 7 Jul 44. 
(2) Further details of the assault mask project appear in Hemleben, CWS-MIT Development 
Laboratory, pp. 130-53. 



small, optically ground lenses for instrument observation and a diaphragm 
for speech transmission. The poor fit and bulkiness of this mask led to a 
lighter model designed at the CWS-MIT Laboratory for use by the Coast 
Artillery and standardized in January 1944. The Chemical Warfare Board 
found the mask satisfactory, but the Armored Board in a later test did 
not consider it wholly acceptable and further development was abandoned. 
As the AGF reported in August 1945, "no existing gas mask is entirely 
satisfactory for use by armed personnel who are required to employ optical 
instruments in the performance of their assigned duties." 27 

The diaphragm gas mask was a special mask first designed for the 
Armored Force and produced in January 1941. 28 By means of a thin vibrat- 
ing diaphragm element in the facepiece of this mask, somewhat better 
speech transmission was possible than in the service mask. Yet this mask 
had certain deficiencies. At a conference on 23 March 1943 the facts were 
brought out that the mask was unnecessarily burdensome, that it might 
make the wearer an easier object of sniper fire, that its voice transmission 
qualities were only slightly better than the standard service mask, and, above 
all, that it seemed impossible to turn out a diaphragm with an assur- 
ance that it would remain gas tight. 29 After a review of. this mask by 
using arms and services in June 1943, when the critical components, com- 
plex manufacture, and slight acoustical properties of the mask were pointed 
out, the Signal Corps, Army Air Forces, Armored Force, Cavalry, and In- 
fantry rejected it. The CWS stopped production and apportioned existing 
stocks among the Field Artillery, Coast Artillery, and Antiaircraft Artil- 
lery, who still wanted a diaphragm mask. 30 When in 1945 requests con- 
tinued for a better speech mask, the CWS developed a new lightweight 
diaphragm gas mask, having improved acoustical properties. It was intended 
to replace earlier diaphragm masks carried by tank crews and by radio 
and telegraph operators. The war ended before it could be put into pro- 

Another special mask, first requested in 1940 and again by the Chief 
Surgeon, ETO, in 1944 was the headwound mask, for soldiers in field hospi- 
tals with head, face, jaw, or neck injuries. 31 It consisted of a vinylite hood 

27 2d Ind by AGF on Ltr, Armored Board to CG Armored Center, Fort Knox, 23 Aug 45, 
cited in CWTC Item 1547, Revised Military Characteristics for Collective Protector for Tanks, 28 
Mar 46, p. 3- 

28 CWTC Item 306, Standardization of Mask, Gas, Diaphragm, MIII-IXAI-IVAl, 21 Jan 41. 

29 Memo, OC CWS Conference, 23 Mar 43. AGO 337-1043. 

30 CWTC Item 731, Reclassification of Mask, Gas, Diaphragm, 1 1 Jun 43- 

31 (1) CWTC Item 286, Gas Masks for Head Wound Casualties, 19 Nov 40. (2) CWTC 
litem 955, Military Characteristics for Gas Mask for Head Wound Casualties, 17 Mar 44. 



Walt Disney With Staff Members of Chemical Warfare Service, 
January 1942, meeting to discuss a Mickey Mouse gas mask for children. From left: Col. 
George J. B. Fisher, Col. Maurice E. Barker, Walt Disney, General Porter, and 
General English. Note picture of mask, left background. 

with a wide, transparent vinylite eyepiece, an Mil canister, and a vinylite 
carrier. Although the CWS did not solve completely the problem of 
obtaining a gas tight seal for patients with neck wounds, it nevertheless 
standardized the mask at the request of the SGO in August 1944 and sup- 
plied them to the theaters. 32 Continuing work resulted in a much better 
neck seal on this mask, but since the danger of gas warfare receded the 
improved model was destined only for limited procurement. 33 

The CWS first planned a civilian gas mask in 1937. By 1940 the serv- 
ice had decided that the design of the Zapon-type mask, as it was called, 
was not satisfactory, and had replaced it by another of rubberized fabric. 31 
At the request of the Office of Civilian Defense, the service redesigned 
this gas mask with its snout-type canister in five sizes for civilian use and 
obtained permission to produce it with laminated and, later, sheet rubber 

32 (1) CWTC Item 1161, Standardization of Mask, Gas, Headwound, M7-11-9, 31 Aug 44. 
(2) Hemleben, CWS-MIT Development Laboratory, pp. 153-60. 

33 CWTC Item 1165, Classification of Mask, Gas, Headwound, E44-M11-E11, 31 Aug 44. 

34 (1) CWTC Item 11, Mask, Gas, Noncombatant (Zapon-type) —Classified as Standard, 11 
Apr 39. (2) CWTC Item 151, Mask, Gas, Noncombatant, MI-I-I Standardization, 14 May 40. 



facepieces, to eliminate the uncomfortable chin seam of the fabric model. 35 
With the growing shortage of rubber, the CWS-MIT Laboratory worked 
out a process for manufacturing faceblanks from impregnated felt. The 
CWS produced large numbers of this type of civilian gas mask under 
experimental contract before closing the program. Other civilian masks 
included the Mickey Mouse mask for children, designed by Walt Disney, 
and the infant protector, a pliofilm respirator for children too young to 
be fitted with a mask. 

On the basis of World War I experience, the CWS had devised gas 
masks for horses and mules, as well as leggings, capes, eyeshields (since the 
horse gas mask did not cover the eyes), and other protective equipment. 
The mask was in the process of standardization early in 1943 when the 
mechanization-minded AGF canceled all requirements for horse protective 
equipment. Late in 1944, as the 10th Mountain Division prepared to go 
overseas with its complement of horses and mules, AGF reversed the 
order. 36 Subsequently, the service standardized capes and eyeshields for the 
Mountain Division animal trains. It also designed masks for the dogs used 
on security patrols and for messenger work overseas, and a baglike mask 
to protect Signal Corps pigeons. 37 

Estimates of the relative value of American, Japanese, and German gas 
masks varied somewhat with the specimen and the examiner, but on the 
whole scientists felt that the U.S. masks, despite their weight, discomfort, 
poor vision, and other disadvantages, were "probably the best worn by 
any army." 38 The Japanese Army masks, though lighter, more compact, 
and well constructed, would not stand the wear and tear of American 
masks, and the canister gave somewhat less protection, particularly against 
hydrogen cyanide and cyanogen chloride. 39 One model of Japanese non- 
combatant mask was superior in material, workmanship, and protection to 
the American counterpart, but other models were inferior. 40 The Japanese 
had specialized masks, including a Navy diaphragm and a horse mask. 

35 CWTC Item 426, Rubber Face for Noncombatant Gas Mask, 16 Dec 41, 

36 (1) Canceled in view of policy established in Ltr, CG SOS to C CWS, 20 Oct 42, sub: 
Deletion of Mask, Gas, from T/BA 2 and T/A 6, cited in CWTC Item 698, Cancellation of Re- 
quirement for Horse Protective Equipment, 23 Apr 43. (2) CWTC Item 1297, Reclassification of 
Mask, Gas, Horse, M5, 22 Mar 45. 

37 (1) CWTC Item 1150, Standardization of Mask, Gas, Dog, M6-12-8, 31 Aug 44. (2) 
CWTC Item 359, Protective Pigeon Bag, M2, 22 Jul 41. 

38 W. C. Pierce, The Gas Mask, NDRC Misc Pub 626, 1 Aug 44, p. 19. 

33 ( 1) WD Intel Bull, Oct 42, pp. 47, 48. (2) CW Intel Bull no. 10, 1 Sep 44. 
40 (1) Hemleben, CWS-MIT Development Laboratory, p. 215. (2) Japanese Chemical War- 



In the opinion of Generalleutnant Herman Ochsner the American mask 
"was highly effective in protection against gas and in that respect would 
meet even the highest demands." 41 But it was too heavy for the German 
Army, which favored a compact model with a drumlike canister fastened 
directly to the mask. The early German canister gave lower protection 
than the American, although it was improved later in the war. 42 The Ger- 
mans had gas masks for noncombatants, headwound casualties, horses, 
dogs, and pigeons. 

Collective Protectors 

The collective protector was a machine designed to draw contaminated 
air from outside a gasproofed shelter and purify it for circulation within. 
The collective protectors available at the start of the war were the MlAl, 
a 1,210-pound unit for use in large permanent installations such as 
seacoast forts, headquarters, and field hospitals, and the M2Al, a 615-pound 
unit, for temporary field tent installations. 43 In 1942 the CWS-MIT Devel- 
opment Laboratory provided the M3 field collective protector, a small 10- 
man unit for installation in Ordnance machine shop trucks, office trailers, 
mobile surgical units, and CWS mobile laboratories. The chief difficulty 
lay in obtaining an air-tight seal in these vehicles. The CWS Development 
Laboratory at last devised a special canister with an Electrolux dust-precipi- 
tator air blower which supplied purified air through corrugated rubber hoses 
to facepieces worn by the tank occupants. 44 The Armored Medical Research 
Laboratory approved the device after tests in 1944 at the Ordnance Desert 
Proving Ground, Calif., but then reversed its decision on the basis of later 
tests at Camp Polk, La., when it found no physiological or operational 
advantages, under high humid conditions, over the individual combat mask. 
Edgewood Arsenal produced more than 1,100 MlAl's and 2,500 M3's during 
the war. 45 

At the request of the Office of Civilian Defense late in 1941, the CWS- 
MIT Development Laboratory devised a collective protector for civilian air 
raid shelters. Under power operation it would protect adequately 40 to 50 
persons; when hand-operated, 20 to 25 people. The service constructed a 

41 Generalleutnant Herman Ochsner, History of German Chemical Warfare in World War II, 
pt. 1, The Military Aspect, p. 33. Chemical Corps Historical Studies, No. 2. 

42 CW Intel Bull No. 46, pt. II, Recently Captured Material. 15 Dec 44. 

43 CWTC Item 132, Standardization of Large Field Collective Protector, 12 Mar 40. 

44 CWTC Item 1242, Military Requirement and Military Characteristics for a Collective Pro- 
tector for Tanks, 11 Jan 45. 

45 CWS Report of Production, 1 Jan 40 through 31 Dec 45, p. 25. 



number of experimental models of the lightweight machine before the 
requirement was rescinded. 46 

The Germans developed a number of collective protectors for civilian 
gasproof shelters, armored vehicles, and small fortifications. The pumps 
used to draw outside air through the canister were generally centrifugal 
air blowers operated by electricity, with a crank for turning the fan 
by hand if the electricity failed. An unusual model had a double-action 
bellows with a long handle that could be pumped up and down to draw 
air through the protector. 

Japanese collective protectors were similar to those used by European 
nations and the United States. An ingenious model capable of purifying 
air for forty persons derived the power for pumping the bellows from a 
geared bicycle mechanism. 47 

Eyeshields, Dust Respirators, and Individual Protective Covers 

The British, naturally more apprehensive than the United States about 
gas warfare, supplied their troops from the beginning with such items as 
eyeshields, protective capes (covers, in American military terminology), 
helmet hoods, light oilskin jackets, overboots, oilskin trousers, oilskin 
valises for antigas equipment, gasproof sacks for vehicles, oilskin stretcher 
covers, and antigas-pathway paper rolls. Even though the CWS procured 
many of these items for the British on lend-lease, the CWS itself later 
adopted only the first two items. 

When this list of British equipment was submitted to the U.S. arms 
and services in an effort to establish their requirements, representatives of 
the Navy, Armored Force, Quartermaster, Field Artillery, and Engineers 
expressed an interest in almost every item, the Infantry and Medical Corps 
indicated interest in several items only, and the Signal and Ordnance 
wanted almost none. 48 

Believing that the enemy would attack with low-flying aircraft spray- 
ing vesicant agents, the CWS urged adoption of the eyeshield, so that 
troops on the march and in the field would have special protection against 
this hazard. After rejection of this item in the summer of 1942 by the 
Desert Warfare Board, which felt that its dust goggles offered equal or 
superior protection, AGF repeatedly turned down the eyeshield. When the 

46 CWTC Item 794, Standardization of Protector, Collective, M4, 3 Sep 43. 

47 Japanese Chemical Warfare. 

48 CWTC Item 335, New Items of Individual Protective Equipment, 27 May 41. 



CWS suggested that other arms would need it, the AGF insisted that either 
goggles, the protective cover, or the soldier's helmet brim offered adequate 
eye protection against spray attack. 49 Finally, after General Eisenhower 
asked for eyeshields for his North African theater forces, "regardless of 
any objection to them," the CWS procured and issued them. 50 

The first eyeshields that went overseas consisted of simple cellulose 
acetate eyepieces bent to fit tightly over the temples, rimmed with a felt 
strip, and held in place by an elastic head strap. Toward the end of the 
war the service designed an eyeshield which could be folded and carried 
in the pocket. This item was made in both clear and green-tinted acetate, 
the green for protection against snow glare and sunlight, and it could be 
worn over spectacles. Two small ventilation holes in the upper corners 
of the eyepiece reduced the fogging experienced with the first model. 51 
Because of the cheapness and excellent design of the eyeshield, the AGF 
later recommended that it replace the expensive sunglasses and dust gog- 
gles being issued. It proved to be one of the most useful of troop items. 
Eyeshields were intended originally to ward off drops of liquid mustard 
or other vesicant agents, but they would have been of signal importance 
if the German Army had suddenly uncovered its nerve gases, one drop of 
which in the eye could be lethal. 

German antigas eyeshields came in a pouch containing two colorless 
and two yellow-green eyeshields. In designing the shields the German Army 
kept in mind the fact that they could protect the soldier's eyes against 
intense sunshine and snow glare as well as against chemicals. The Ger- 
mans manufactured only a limited quantity of eyeshields and, as far as 
known, never issued them. 52 

A nongas warfare item turned over to CWS for design and procure- 
ment was the Ml dust respirator, first requested in 1940 by the Armored 
Force, and soon after by the Infantry, for protecting troops against coarse, 
wind-driven particles. Initially, it consisted of a relatively large rubber face- 
blank with a felt filtering medium stitched to the blank. Later the service 
reduced the bulk and weight of this respirator by using lightweight felt 
on a wire and rubber frame, with rubber outlet valve and headband. 53 

49 (1) CWTC Item 541, Unfavorable Consideration of Eyeshield, Ml, 4 Aug 42. (2) CWTC 
Item 623, Eye Shields, 24 Nov 42. 

50 CWTC Item 693, Standardization of Eyeshields, Ml, 23 Apr 43. 

51 CWTC Item 742, 11 Jun 43, and Item 1405, Standardization of Eyeshield, M2, 2 Aug 45. 

52 (1) German Chemical Warfare Materiel, p. III-F-22. (2) German Chemical Warfare, 
p. 165. 

53 ( 1) CWTC Item 329, Standardization of Respirator, Dust, Ml, 1 Apr 41. (2) CWTC Item 
612, Standardization of Respirator, Dust, M2, 24 Nov 42. 



Near the end of the war, technicians designed a simple, expendable res- 
pirator that the Cavalry Board found to be more durable and more com- 
fortable and to give greater protection than earlier models. 54 

The Army first issued individual protective covers to theater troops late 
in 1942. Developed at the request of the Air Forces for the protection of 
air base personnel against vesicant spray from aircraft, the cover became 
a Quartermaster item of general issue. It consisted of a specially treated, 
large, cellophane bag folded into a small 4 by 7Vi-inch packet. A tear- 
tape device enabled a soldier with rifle or carbine to open the cover and 
don it sack-fashion in ten to twelve seconds. This cover, though it pro- 
tected the soldier, enveloped and virtually immobilized him; it was an 
emergency measure and no substitute for protective clothing. 55 

German troops had no protection similar to American and British covers 
and capes, but relied on a gasplane or antigas sheet made of treated 
crepe paper, parchment paper, wax paper, rubberized fabric or plastic 
coated fabric, about four feet by seven feet in size. Troops could have 
used these sheets to cover supplies or weapons, and could convert them 
into protective capes by cutting a hole in the center. 56 

The Japanese Army had protective capes and sheets. The cape, four 
and one half by eight feet in size, came with a triangular-shaped hood 
which the soldier could slip over his head, while the rest of the cape could 
be wrapped around his body. The cape was constructed from brown, light- 
weight paper, and, not sturdy enough to withstand decontamination, would 
have to be thrown away after use. The sheet, made of rubberized fabric 
eight feet square, was intended as a cover for the soldier or equipment 
during an attack. 57 

Protective Clothing and Impregnites 

The two-layer cotton permeable suit of World War I, its outer layer 
impregnated with 45 percent rosin and 55 percent rosin oil, reportedly gave 
almost complete protection against mustard vapor for forty minutes. 58 The 
demonstrable superiority of the permeable protective suit of World War 
II, an impregnated herringbone-twill outfit offering effective protection 

54 CWTC Item 1360, Classification of Respirator, Dust, Lightweight, E23, 24 May 45. 

55 (1) CWTC Item 575, Protective Cape for Army Air Forces, 29 Sep 42. (2) TM 3-290, pp. 

56 Military Intelligence Service, WD, Special Series, no. 16, Enemy Capabilities for Chemical 
Warfare, 15 Jul 45, p. 42. 

57 Japanese Chemical Warfare. 

58 Medical Aspects of Gas Warfare, pp. 762-64. 



against both mustard vapor and fine mustard spray, derived in part from 
improvements in design. The CWS attacked basic design problems in co- 
operation with the NDRC, the Navy, and the Quartermaster Corps, which 
procured, stored, and issued the clothing. The high standards of design 
set by the service seemed all but unattainable. Even as the war ended, 
work was still in progress to eliminate the small degree of leakage past 
the closures and seals of the jacket and shorts. However slight, such leak- 
age might produce serious blister injuries, since the areas of the body most 
vulnerable to the effects of mustard were the scrotal and neck regions. 59 

The superiority of World War II protective clothing over world War I 
type resulted mainly from an impregnite, a chloroamide designated CC-2. 
The search in World War I and after for a chemical that would react 
rapidly with mustard, and which was sufficiently stable on fabric to ensure 
reasonably good storage qualities, led to the discovery of CC-2 in 1924 
and its intermittent manufacture on a pilot plant scale at Edgewood Arse- 
nal. 60 In 1928 the CWS accepted CC-2 as a standard impregnite. The 
formula for CC-2 was one of the most closely guarded secrets of the 
Chemical Warfare Service. Under Navy and NDRC auspices, between 
1940 and 1945, scores of new compounds were tested in search of possi- 
bly better impregnites, but none proved superior to CC-2. 

In contrast to the Americans, the Germans did not issue impregnated 
clothing. They carried on experimental work, but a shortage of materials 
kept them from getting very far. The few articles that they impregnated 
experimentally were stiff, smelly, and caused dermatitis. 61 

Protective Ointments 

World War I efforts to devise an ointment that would prevent mus- 
tard lesions were unsuccessful, and the attempts in the years between the 
wars were equally discouraging. 62 In the light of American knowledge in 
1940, sag paste (ialve ^ntigas), as the ointment of 1918 was called, was 
"even worse than useless," though its issue to troops may have been "useful 

r,B For adverse comment on the design imposed by the CWS on all herringbone twill clothing, 
standard issue as well as protective clothing, see Erna Risch, The Quartermaster Corps: Organiza- 
tion, Supply, and Services, Volume I, UNITED STATES ARMY IN WORLD WAR II (Wash- 
ington, 1953), p. 97, n. 47. 

60 Capt William M. Creasy and Souren Z. Avedikian, Impregnite I. EATR 272, 31 Jul 39. 

61 German Chemical Warfare, p. 164. 

62 E. B. Vedder, The Medical Aspects of Chemical Warfare (Baltimore: Williams & Wilkins, 
1925), pp. 150-51. 



psychologically." 63 In 1940 the CWS renewed the search first in its own 
and in Navy laboratories and then with the help of the Committee on 
the Treatment of Gas Casualties (CTGC), the Committee on Medical Re- 
search (CMR), and the National Defense Research Committee (NDRC). 
The aim was to find something that would penetrate the skin as fast or 
faster than mustard and neutralize the mustard and its decomposition 
products before destruction of the cells and tissues. This objective was 
based on the World War I theory that mustard penetrated the cells and 
released hydrochloric acid which then killed the cells and caused blisters. 

Despite World War II efforts scientists still were unable to determine the 
precise mechanism of mustard action, although they suggested a promising 
theory that the primary action might be on essential cellular enzymes 
rather than on the cell as a whole. 64 What seemed necessary to combat 
the action, therefore, was still believed to be a quick-penetrating neutral- 
izes Scientists speculated that this substance had to be a chlorine com- 
pound since chlorine alone seemed to destroy mustard effectively with the 
least injury to the skin. 

In 1940 researchers began a series of tests with two promising oint- 
ments, azochloramid with triacetin as its vehicle, and dichloroamine-T, also 
in triacetin. The latter, produced by the Monsanto Chemical Co., appeared 
to be the less irritating of the two and to possess some effectiveness, but 
it was never entirely satisfactory owing to difficulties in obtaining quanti- 
ties of the basic ingredient in a sufficiently pure form. The service issued 
large quantities of protective ointments containing variants of the dichlor- 
amine-T formula and successively designated Ml, M2, M3, and M4. 65 
These ointments were the best available at the time and under temperate 
ciimatic conditions were satisfactory decontaminants. Later tests revealed 
that under hot weather conditions they might be excessively irritating to 
the skin. H6 

In the summer of 1941, meanwhile, Navy chemists in the laboratories 
at Edgewood and in their own research laboratories at Bethesda, Md., 

03 CWTC Item 166, Subcommittee Report on Standardization of Protective Ointment, 16 
Jul 40. 

* A Advances in Military Medicine, II, 549-51. 

65 The confusing story of Ml protective ointment is told in CWTC Item 166; CWTC Item 
280, Request for Standardization of Ointment, Protective, 19 Nov 40; CWTC Item 330, Request 
for Standardization of Ointment, Protective, M2, 1 Apr 41; CWTC Item 506, Redesignation of 
Ointment Ml to M4, 2 Jun 42. 

66 (1) Misc Rpt, Col Cornelius P. Rhoads, MC, Report of Medical and Toxicological Factors 
Pertinent to CW in the SWPA ( 12 May 44), p. 12. MDR 109.1 Tech Lib A CmlC, Md. (2) In- 
terv, Hist Off with CW. MacFarlan, 26 Feb 57. 



devised a series of chlorine compounds, one of which, S-330, was highly 
effective against mustard and could be better tolerated on the skin. 67 The 
Army adopted an ointment, M5, containing S-330 as its base in December 
1943. The following year the service issued the M5 protective ointment 
kit, containing four Va -ounce tubes of M5 ointment and one 3-gram tube 
of BAL eye ointment, to troops in the field. 68 

Good as it was, M5 ointment acted primarily to destroy vesicant liquid 
on the skin; it could not to any significant degree neutralize mustard that 
had penetrated the skin. The soldier had to apply it within two to five 
minutes. After that the blister agent penetrated the skin and its action 
was irreversible. Nevertheless, it was a highly serviceable ointment. 69 

The Japanese Army issued individual decontamination kits to its troops 
for destroying vesicant agents on the skin. The kit contained powder that 
formed a paste with water, and absorbent cotton for swabbing the paste 
on the mustard area. The paste could not be applied as quickly as oint- 
ment, since the soldier had to mix the ingredients before use, and this 
was a vital factor in the tropics where mustard had to be destroyed within a 
minute or two if burns were to be prevented. Furthermore, a paste had 
little prophylactic value in contrast to an ointment. 70 

The German Army issued two decontaminating agents to its troops. 
The first was stabilized calcium hypochlorite, in tablet form, referred to as 
Losantin. These tablets had to be made into a paste with water, applied 
to the skin for a few minutes, and then washed off. The second decon- 
taminant was a thickened ointment of chloroamine-T, which was swabbed 
on, allowed to stand, and finally washed off. Neither the Japanese nor the 
German personal decontaminants approached the American M5 ointment 
in efficiency and all-around usefulness. 71 

Medical Kits and Supplies 

Prior to 1942 the only first-aid kit for gas casualties was one prepared 
in 1933 by the CWS's Medical Division for use in chemical plants at Edge- 

KT (1) The Navy standardized it in August 1942; see Noyes, Chemistry, p. 210. (2) Compara- 
tive studies of the Army and Navy ointments appear in Marion B. Sulzberger, "Protection and 
Treatment of the Skin Exposed to Blister Gases," Advances in Military Medicine, II, pp. 591-96. 

K * (1) CWTC Item 854, Standardization of Ointment, Protective, M5, 3 Dec 43. (2) CWTC 
Item 1018, Standardization of Kit, Ointment, Protective, M5, 5 May 44. 

,i9 (1) Advances in Military Medicine, II, pp. 595-96. (2) Noyes, Chemistry, pp. 181-212. (3) 
Lt. Col. D. J. C. Wiseman, compiler, 'The Second World War: 1939-1945, Army, Special 
Weapons and Types of Warfare," vol. I, Gas Warfare (London: British War Office, 1951). p. 205. 
Hereafter cited as Wiseman, Gas Warfare. 

7,1 Enemy Capabilities for Chemical Warfare, pp. 142-44. 

71 German Chemical Warfare, pp. 165-66. 
512467 O-60— 8 



wood Arsenal. Although the service revised and tested the kit in 1938 as 
a possible military item, there appeared to be no military requirement for 
it and the work was stopped. 72 Thus as war approached the CWS did not 
have a chemical warfare medical kit, nor did the Medical Department sup- 
ply catalog of 1939 contain more than one or two of the drugs and prep- 
arations that had been reported by the Edgewood laboratories up to that 
time as effective remedies for gas casualties. 

The service drew up a list of equipment and materials that should be 
included in regimental medical-detachment supply. The list was approved 
by The Surgeon General and the Medical Department Board, whose responsi- 
bility it was to standardize such equipment. They recommended that the 
drugs and impervious gloves and aprons in the list be packed in a Medi- 
cal Department chest for issue to each regimental medical section, while 
the more bulky equipment such as the permeable protective clothing for 
medical personnel handling gas casualties, the headwound masks, and the 
field collective protector be held in rear area depots until required. 73 In 
March 1942 the service standardized the first gas casualty chest, contain- 
ing drugs, gloves, and aprons. The chest was modified in December 1943 
as the M2 gas casualty set, and in May 1944 it was completely revised 
when its unwieldy trunk-type construction, weighing almost 300 pounds, 
was scaled down to a 45-pound Alpine pack-type set. This final gas cas- 
ualty set consisted of 2 canvas pack inserts containing 6 impermeable aprons, 

6 pairs of impermeable gloves, and the gas casualty treatment kit. 74 

The CWS procured more than 10,000 gas casualty treatment kits. The 
contents of the 1945 kit, representing the best efforts of wartime medical 
research in the treatment of chemical agent injuries, and containing in lesser 
or greater quantities the material also found in the first-aid kit and vet- 
erinary set, included BAL ointment (for removal of arsenicals from the 
skin), petrolatum and amyl salicylate (for removal of mustard from the 
skin), sodium sulamyd (to prevent blister gas eye infection), copper sul- 
fate solution (to remove WP particles from the skin) , copper sulfate 
powder (to replenish solution), sulfadiazine tablets or penicillin (to pre- 
vent secondary infection), a floating white soap (for decontamination), BAL 
eye ointment (for any liquid blister gas contamination of eyes), eye and 

"Charles A. Rouitler, First Aid Kit for Chemical Warfare Service Plants. EATR 291, 

7 Dec 38. 

73 Rpt, Medical Department Board, Medical Field Service School, Carlisle, Pa., 10 Jan 41, 
sub: Chemical Protection, Medical, Project No. 171. 

74 MRL (EA) 14, Louis Venet and M. J. Oehlberg, Gas Casualty Set for Medical Units, 18 
Feb 44. 



nose drops (to relieve pain of blister gases), chloroform (to relieve irri- 
tant smoke distress), amyl nitrite ampules (for hydrocyanic acid poison- 
ing), ophthalmic discs, fluorescein, and atropine sulfate (for treatment of 
eye injury), calamine concentrate (for relief of mustard burn itching), 
forceps (to remove WP particles from the skin), a 4-ounce plastic bottle 
(for preparing calamine solution), and a screening water testing kit (to 
detect agents in water supplies). 75 

Shortly after the appearance of the gas casualty chest in 1942, a small 
gas casualty first-aid kit, evolved from the earlier plant kit, was standard- 
ized and issued on the basis of one to each twenty-five individuals and as 
an accessory of vehicular equipment. Its contents, based on developments 
reported in TM 8-285, were dichloramine-T in triacetin, hydrogen per- 
oxide solution, copper sulfate solution, Ml eye solution, amyl nitrite, 
pontacaine ointment, and M4 protective ointment. 76 Three years later, in 
1945, this same first-aid kit contained BAL ointment, chloroform, amyl 
nitrite, copper sulfate, eye and nose drops, calamine lotion, and the M5 
protective ointment kit, the latter consisting of four tubes of M5 protec- 
tive ointment and one tube of BAL eye ointment. 77 Over 250,000 of these 
kits were procured for shipment overseas. 

In developing special kits and chests, the CWS's Medical Division ob- 
tained standard medical items from the Army Medical Purchasing Office 
in New York, but in designing the sets, in packaging, and in stocking 
special items, it had to have direct contact with industrial firms. It called 
upon Bauer and Black, the Davis Emergency Equipment Co,, Du Pont, 
Lambert Pharmacal, Dow Chemical, Rohm and Haas, the New Eng- 
land Collapsible Tube Co., Merck, Squibb, Lederle, and others. In the final 
procurement of the gas casualty chests, kits, and other items of issue de- 
veloped at Edgewood, the Army's medical department did the contracting. 
The responsibility of the CWS's Medical Division was limited to ascer- 
taining the military requirement and developing and standardizing special 
equipment and supplies. 

In contrast to the American Army's medical kits and sets, the German 
Army depended on individual issue of emergency items. The German sol- 
dier, for example, was told to wash the skin with soap and water imme- 
diately after contamination. A special soap, known as Mersol, was issued 

75 The contents of the first-aid and treatment kits are listed in the various editions of TM 8- 
285. For further details of these supplies, see Cochrane, Medical Research in Chemical Warfare, 
pp. 137-52. 

79 FM 21-11, First Aid for Soldiers, 8 Apr 43, pp. 100-103. 
77 TM 8-285, Apr 1945, p. 102. 



for use at decontamination centers. Ten Losantin tablets for making a de- 
contamination paste were issued to German troops, as well as an ointment 
of chloroamine-T in water, for the same purpose. Small, cloth covered 
ampules containing ammonia, chloroform, alcohol, and ether were issued 
to counteract the effects of the sneezing gas DM, and a suspension of chalk 
in copper sulfate solution was issued for WP burns. 78 

Protection of Food and Water Supplies Against Toxics 

In 1938 the CWS began work on purification of water and continued 
it until early in 1945. 79 Scientists devised an emergency method for puri- 
fying water for small units, employing carbon and special filter cartridges 
in a Lyster bag, and then chlorinating the water thus treated. However, 
no better method could be devised for removing agents from large bodies 
of water, such as found at a water supply point, than the standard pro- 
cedure used by municipal water control stations (activated carbon and alum), 
and this was a Corps of Engineers responsibility. 80 

The service's efforts to detect the presence of toxics in water were more 
successful. In February 1942, with assistance of an NDRC group under 
A. M. Buswell of the University of Illinois, the CWS began work which 
led to the development of a kit with which a soldier could detect con- 
taminants. Chemists at Illinois devised specific tests for detecting the pres- 
ence of sulphur and nitrogen mustards, arsenicals, selenium, and other heavy 
metals in water, while J. H. Yoe at the University of Virginia found a 
test for fluorine compounds in water. 81 On the basis of this work, the 
Army adopted a treatment-control water-testing kit in March 1944. This 
kit made possible the quantitative analyses necessary to determine treat- 
ment dosages for contaminated water and to establish the effectiveness of 
such treatment. 82 A year later the service produced a food testing kit to 
detect the presence of sulphur and nitrogen mustards, as well as other toxic 
agents, on foods and food containers. 

78 German Chemical Warfare, pp. 165-66. 

79 Lcr, C MRD to TSG, 9 Oct 39, sub: Purification of Water Contaminated with Chemical 
Warfare Agents. Cited in Cochrane, Medical Research, p. 478. 

80 A survey of the research on this problem appears in Joseph M. Sanchis, "Chemical Warfare 
and Water Supplies," Journal of American Water Works Association, 38 (1946), 1179-96. 

81 Noyes, Chemistry, pp. 223-26. 

82 "The Medical Department in World War II," Environmental Hygiene, vol. II, Preventive 
Medicine in World War II (Washington, 195 5), pp. 103-05. 



Treatment of Gas Casualties 

In 1939 the CWS was confronted with the same problems in treating* 
gas casualties that it had faced back in 1918. Researchers discovered no 
treatment for pulmonary edema caused by phosgene poisoning, for bron- 
chopneumonia that set in following the inhalation of mustard vapors, or 
for lesions or ulcers of the eyes and skin caused by liquid or gaseous vesicant 
agents. The CWS began to attack each of these problems, later receiving 
assistance from the NDRC and the Committee on the Treatment of Gas 

By the close of World War II the medical research teams which en- 
gaged in basic studies on the therapy of phosgene and other chemical ir- 
ritants at Northwestern, at Yale, at Chicago, and at the University of 
Pennsylvania had learned many things about the physiology of phosgene 
poisoning— principally that the mode of action was the vigorous and usu- 
ally fatal injury of the lung tissue, resulting in waterlogging of the lungs. 
They learned little or nothing about treating it, other than that among 
animals surviving the flooding of the lungs, the anoxia or oxygen starva- 
tion of the tissues that resulted would respond to pure oxygen inhalation. 83 
The Boothby-Lovelace oxygen therapy apparatus, developed at the Mayo 
Clinic and the Aero Medical Research Laboratory at Wright Field, Ohio, 
and standardized as Medical Department equipment, was a partial answer 
to the problem. A subsequent development, to provide more efficient con- 
sumption of oxygen in the field, was an oxygen therapy apparatus with 
distributing hose, to permit simultaneous administration of oxygen to 
twenty patients. 84 Oxygen was the one effective therapy for phosgene poi- 
soning. Codeine might relieve the cough, morphine could be administered 
to quiet the patient, and when the edema subsided, antibacterial therapy 
(penicillin or sulfadiazine) could be administered in order to prevent pul- 
monary infection. Beyond this there was little that could be done. 

Useful in the plants where phosgene was manufactured was the dis- 
covery that hexamethylenetetramine (HMT) was an effective prophylactic 
against phosgene poisoning. The compound rapidly combined with phos- 

83 For detailed studies of phosgene therapy, see chapter by Ralph W. Gerard, "Recent Research 
on Respiratory Irritants," Advances in Military Medicine, II, pp. 565-87. 

84 (1) W. M. Boothby, E. W. Mayo, and W. R. Lovelace, "One Hundred Per Cent Oxygen/' 
Journal of the American Medical Association, 113 (1939), pp. 477-81. (2) MRL (EA) 6, 
M. Galdston, Distributing Hose for Field Oxygen Therapy, 6 Nov 43. 



gene as it entered the lungs and blocked its action on the tissue. While 
such a preventive had certain values in the factory and laboratory, it was 
of little use to the soldier who could not be continually inoculated against 
first one agent and then another in this manner. 85 

Mustard, the most important of the blister gases, is a disabling rather 
than a killing agent, its action painless and undetected since it is rapidly 
absorbed by the skin. The liquid, spray, and vapor produce severe eye 
injury, blisters on the body, and injury to the lining of the respiratory 
tract exposing it to infection. In World War I the bronchopneumonia that 
followed inhalation of mustard gas was responsible for most deaths from 
this agent. 

Perhaps more work was done on the blister gases between 1940 and 
1945 than in all the previous years put together. The CWS and its co- 
operative agencies studied the therapy necessary to prevent secondary in- 
fection, and methods of decontaminating liquid mustard absorbed through 
the skin. 86 Before the discovery of the sulpha drugs only supportive treat- 
ment, that is, careful nursing, cleanliness, and warmth, was possible for 
the secondary infection, usually bronchopneumonia, following inhalation 
of mustard gas. Of the new drugs, sulfathiazole seemed to have the great- 
est protective value against the secondary infection. As the supply of peni- 
cillin increased, pneumonia cases which showed resistance to the sulpha 
compound could also be treated successfully. With these drugs available 
the secondary infection was no longer to be greatly feared. 

The antimustard preparation, M5 protective ointment, while not the 
final answer to mustard decontamination and prevention of mustard ef- 
fects on the skin, was the most satisfactory preparation devised during the 
war for this purpose. Researchers found no clear-cut superiority for any 
therapeutic agent in the treatment of mustard burns of the skin, but they 
concluded that the use on third degree burns of sulfadiazine ointment and 
petrolatum containing silver nitrate was the best treatment for the burn- 
like injury. 87 As for contamination of the eyes by liquid mustard gas, 
nothing proved much more effective in preventing the rapid and destruc- 

85 MD (EA) MR 81, Therapeutic and Prophylactic Value of HMT in Phosgene Poisoning, 
19 Mar 43. 

86 For the useful but essentially negative results obtained in studies of systemic mustard poison- 
ing, see chapter by A. Gilman and M. Cattell, "Systemic Agents: Action and Treatment," Advances 
in Military Medicine, II, pp. 546-51. 

87 MRL (EA) 36, J. Wexler and L. H. Rasmusen, Evaluation of Local Treatment of Mus- 
tard Burns, 1 Sep 44. (2) See Sulzberger, "Protection and Treatment of the Skin Exposed to Blister 
Gases," Advances in Military Medicine, II, pp. 588-602. 



tive penetration of mustard into the cornea than immediate irrigation of 
the eyes with water. 

Lewisite, discovered too late for use in World War I, received its share 
of attention from researchers. In the winter of 1940^1, a group working 
under R. A. Peters at Oxford University experimented with a compound 
called DTH (dithioglycerol) or BAL (British antilewisite) which was quite 
effective in preventing arsenical poisoning by lewisite. 88 Under the direc- 
tion of the Committee on the Treatment of Gas Casualties, extensive studies 
of the new substance were undertaken in CMR and NDRC contract agen- 
cies, as well as at the Edgewood laboratories. 

One of the first American results of the BAL investigation was the de- 
velopment by the Du Pont laboratories under CWS contract of Ml eye 
solution, a 5 percent solution of 2,3-dimercaptopropanol in ethylene gly- 
col. 89 Shortly after this a series of experiments indicated that a 5 percent 
BAL ointment was much less difficult to apply to the eyes and that, de- 
spite the pain of lewisite eye contamination, untrained personnel could 
probably apply effective quantities of the ointment to themselves. The serv- 
ice standardized BAL eye ointment in July 1943. 

Hydrogen cyanide, another of the Army's toxic agents, became the sub- 
ject of a long series of toxicological and medical investigations. Hydrogen 
cyanide was the fastest acting nonpersistent agent known, because after a 
breath or two respiration could no longer be suppressed and before the 
man could mask he might be unconscious. 

The recommended treatment for acute cyanide poisoning was the in- 
sertion of crushed ampules of amyl nitrite under the gas mask. The pro- 
tective or therapeutic effect of amyl nitrite seemed to lie in its ability to 
form methemoglobin in the blood, converting the cyanide into relatively 
harmless cyanmethemoglobin. It was known that a compound called 
p-aminopropiophenone was highly active in forming methemoglobin, and 
experiments at Edgewood determined that a man could tolerate sufficiently 
large injections of this substance, named PAPP by the Medical Research 
Laboratory, to provide complete protection against the effects of the cya- 
nides. Even more important, PAPP was almost equally effective when taken 
by mouth. 90 This, however, was prevention and not therapy for cyanide 

88 (1) Gilman and Cattell, "Systemic Agents," Advances in Military Medicine, II, pp. 555-61. 
(2) W. R. Kirner, in Noyes, Chemistry, pp. 181-84. 

S9 MD (EA) MR 85, Comparative Therapeutic Values of Various BAL Products and Certain 
Derivatives . . .,7 Apr 43. 

90 (1) MRL (EA) Informal Monthly Progress Reports, 15 May 44, 15 Sep 44, and 15 Apr 
45. (2) Advances in Military Medicine, II, pp. 554-55. 



poisoning, just as HMT was an effective prophylactic against phosgene, 
and therefore suitable for protection in the laboratory but impractical in 
the field. 

While it is true that positive and immediate militarily useful results 
from chemical warfare medical research were relatively meager in view of 
the great effort made, under the threat of gas warfare the CWS had no 
choice but to explore every toxic agent suspected of being of interest to 
the enemy and every known or conjectured aspect of gas casualty aid and 
treatment. To this end the full resources of medical science in this nation 
and in the British Commonwealth were made freely available, enabling 
the Chemical Warfare Service to command a degree of assistance never 
achieved before. The common effort was rewarded on two levels: first, 
there was an enormous accumulation of original scientific data, new in- 
strumentation, and more precise methodology, the benefits of which may 
be estimated only in the event of gas warfare in the future; and, secondly, 
substantial contributions were made both to fundamental and clinical prog- 
ress in medicine. 91 

91 (1) See Oscar Bodansky, "Contributions of Medical Research in Chemical Warfare to Medi- 
cine," Science (23 November 1945), 102. (2) Advances in Military Medtane, II, pp. 517-21, 
543_44, 551-55, 559-60, 563-64, 587, 596, 602. 


Biological Warfare Research 1 

In the years just before America's entry into World War II, both Ger- 
many and Japan were reported to be preparing for biological warfare and, it 
was believed, had devised agents capable of assailing the best defenses that 
medical science had evolved. In the United States there were skeptics who 
doubted the effectiveness of biological warfare against a modern army. 2 
They reasoned that with the development of modern sanitary precautions, 
water purification, and insect and rodent control, the normal incidence of 
bacterial activity could largely be thwarted. Combat troops took the field 
supported by the best medical protection available and were armed with 
antitoxins, vaccines, and sera as a safeguard against diseases caused by some 
of the most harmful common bacteria. Furthermore, these skeptics felt, 
the problem of disseminating great quantities of bacteria in order to over- 
whelm any possible defense would present immense technical difficulties. 
But in their opinion the chief deterrent to initiating biological warfare 
was the danger to the side which unleashed it. Only an isolated enemy 
could be safely attacked, and there was no longer any such thing as an 
isolated enemy. On the other hand, American intelligence agencies reported 
that neither the Japanese, Germans, nor the embattled British shared this 
skepticism. 3 Nor did the Chemical Warfare Service, which had for years 
been interested in the potential problems of the bacterial weapon. 

1 The principal source in writing this chapter has been the monograph by Rexmond C. 
Cochrane, Biological Warfare Research in the United States, History of the Chemical Warfare 
Service in World War II (1 July 1940-15 August 1945), November 1947. (Hereafter cited as 
BW Research in the U.S.) In several cases it seemed advisable to cite the documents used in 
preparing the monograph. 

2 Maj. Leon A. Fox, MC, "Bacterial Warfare: The Use of Biologic Agents in Warfare/' Mili- 
tary Surgeon, 72 (March 1933), 189-207, reprinted in 90 (May 1942), 563-79- 

3 BW Research in the U.S., pp. 12-13. 



CWS Interest in Biological Warfare 

Ever since the League of Nations Conference of 1924 and the Geneva 
Gas Protocol of 1925 linked chemical, biological, and incendiary warfare 
as related problems, the Chemical Warfare Service had regarded biological 
warfare as within its sphere of responsibility, and from time to time mem- 
bers of the service had prepared appraisals of its war potential. 4 In sim- 
plest terms, biological warfare may be defined as the intentional cultivation 
or production of pathogenic bacteria, fungi, viruses, rickettsia, and their 
toxic products, as well as certain chemical compounds, for the purpose of 
producing disease or death in men, animals, or crops. The definition also 
includes the development of defenses against these organisms and toxic 
substances. Potential agents might include the organisms producing the 
intestinal diseases of typhoid, cholera, and dysentery, through pollution of 
water supplies; the respiratory diseases of smallpox, diphtheria, epidemic 
meningitis, scarlet fever, and influenza, which are ordinarily dependent upon 
ideal epidemic conditions; the insect transmitted diseases of malaria, yel- 
low fever, dengue, typhus, and plague; infections such as tetanus, anthrax, 
gangrene, and the pyrogenic diseases; agricultural diseases in the form of 
the boll weevil, corn borer, and Mediterranean fruit fly, as well as fungus 
diseases of crops and plants; and glanders, foot and mouth disease, New- 
castle disease, fowl plague, and other diseases to which domestic animals 
and fowl are subject. 5 

In August 1941 the growing concern of the CWS led to the activation 
by oral order of the chief of the service of a unit designated the Medical 
Research Division, in the Technical Service at Edgewood Arsenal, to plan 
preliminary technical studies and to accumulate data "in connection with 
the medical aspects of chemical warfare, including bacteriology and im- 
munization." 6 The division, consisting of five members, 7 examined poten- 
tial sites, facilities, and personnel for an expanded biological program, 

4 (1) EA Mech Div Progress Rpt 442, Bacteriological Warfare, 24 Sep 24. (2) Rpt of CWS, 
1926, pp. 8-9. (3) Fox, op. at. (4) OC CWS Technical Study No. 10, Maj M. E. Barker, CWS, 
Bacteriological Warfare Possibilities, 28 Aug 39. In Technical Library A CmlC, Md. 

5 An unofficial account of BW potentialities, first prepared in 1942 and published after the war, 
is that by Theodor Rosebury, et ai, "Bacterial Warfare: A Critical Analysis of the Available 
Agents, Their Possible Military Applications, and the Means for Protection Against Them," 
Journal of Immunology, 56 (May 1947), 7-96. 

G BW Research in the U.S., p. 13. 

7 Lt Col James H. Defandorf, Sanitary Corps (pharmacologist) ; Maj E. A. Richmond (ento- 
mologist); Maj A. T. Thompson, VC; Capt Frank M. Shertz (plant pathologist); and 1st Lt 
Luman F. Ney (physiological chemist). 



prepared a bibliography of published literature on BW ? 8 and drew up ten- 
tative programs for research. It also established contact with the Bricish 
scientists working on BW at Porton, in Wiltshire, England, and with 
Canadian BW experts. 9 

The WBC Committee and War Research Service 

Government agencies other than the Chemical Warfare Service also 
showed concern over the threat. These included the Institute of Health 
of the U.S. Public Health Service, the Council of National Defense, offi- 
cers of the staffs of the Surgeons General of the Army and Navy, and 
G-2 of the Army. 

In July 1941 , Harvey H. Bundy, Special Assistant to the Secretary of 
War, called a meeting of representatives of the Office of Scientific Re- 
search and Development (OSRD), The Surgeon General, the CWS, and 
Army G-2, to discuss means for co-ordinating work in BW. As a result 
of this meeting the OSRD recommended to the Secretary of War that 
the National Academy of Sciences investigate the possibilities of BW. 10 

Two months before Pearl Harbor, the president of the National Acad- 
emy and the chairman of the National Research Council asked Edwin B. 
Fred to help form and act as chairman of a committee to study and as- 
sess current potentialities of BW. A group of twelve scientists met on 
18 November 1941, designated the WBC Committee (War Bureau of Con- 
sultants). Liaison members of the committe included Lt. Col. Maurice E. 
Barker, Lt. Col. James H. Defandorf, and 1st Lt. Luman F. Ney of the 
Chemical Warfare Service, as well as representatives of Ordnance, the Navy 
Bureau of Medicine and Surgery, The Surgeon General's Office, the De- 
partment of Agriculture, and the U.S. Public Health Service. The com- 
mittee report to the Secretary of War in February 1942 declared the BW 
was distinctly feasible, that it was a potential threat to national security, 
and that steps should be taken at once to formulate defensive and offen- 
sive measures. 

fi OC CWS Technical Study 58, Biological Warfare: An Annotated Bibliography, 19 Jan 42. 
In Technical Library, A CmlC, Md, 

9 (1) OC CWS Orgn Chart, 1 Oct 41, approved 20 Aug 4l, p. 23. (2) Memo for file, 30 Jun 
42, sub: Proposed Orgn and Functional Chart, Bacteriological Warfare Service, CWS. (3) Memo, 
Col J. H. Defandorf, for file, 2 Nov 42, sub: Role of the CWS in the Development of Defenses 
against BW. Cited in BW Research in the U.S., pp. 23, 33. (4) Rpt, Col Defandorf, 20 Sep 45, 
sub: Research and Development in the Special Projects Division, CWS 314.7 BW File. 

10 Rpt, Henry I. Stubblefield, A Resume of the Biological Warfare Effort, 21 Mar 58. CMLHO 



Through liaison established with the British BW group at the Porton 
Experiment Station, reports of the work there were made available to the 
CWS and the WBC Committee beginning in May 1942. By that time 
British research in BW had progressed from the theoretical stage and ex- 
perimental study to actual small-scale production. Its director, Dr. Paul 
Fildes, urged that the United States undertake the large-scale studies that 
his group was not equipped to do, and in November he came to Wash- 
ington to discuss the organization and operations of his group. 11 

Informed of the WBC Committee's findings, the War Department Gen- 
eral Staff recommended, principally as a security measure and to avoid alarm- 
ing the public, that the task of formulating defensive measures and 
procedures for retaliation be undertaken by a civilian agency. 12 The Presi- 
dent therefore on 15 May 1942 authorized the Secretary of War to estab- 
lish such an organization in the Federal Security Agency, a special 
nonresearch agency under the President. It was administered by Paul V. 
McNutt, and had been set up "to promote social and economic security, 
advance educational opportunities and promote public health." Thus ob- 
scured, the branch of FSA later known as War Research Service (WRS) 
came into being and was formally organized four months later with 
George W. Merck as director. 

War Research Service was primarily an advisory body of eight mem- 
bers including Mr. Fred of the disbanded WBC Committee. It was charged 
with making a continuous survey of the BW situation and reporting its 
recommendations to appropriate government agencies, in particular the 
CWS, the Medical Department, the Bureau of Medicine and Surgery of 
the Navy, and the U.S. Public Health Service. Other agencies that came 
within the orbit of WRS included the Provost Marshal General's Office, 
the Assistant Chief of Staff G-2, Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI). Of- 
fice of Strategic Services (OSS), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), 
and the Department of Agriculture. The WRS was further charged with 
initiating research projects in universities and in private research founda- 
tions, with the proviso that these civilian agencies were to be "strictly 
limited to carrying out such projects as were assigned to the Chemical 
Warfare Service by WRS." 13 In other words, the Chemical Warfare Serv- 

11 Capt Frank M. Schertz, Biological Warfare, Jan 43, pp. 118-23, 128, 130, 144-46, 227-28. 
MS in Hist Off. 

12 Memo, C Spec Asgmts Br CWS to Spec Asst SW, 24 Aug 42, sub: Resume of CWS Activi- 
ties in BW, 1 Oct 41 to Date. Cited in BW Research in the U.S., p. 22. 

13 Ltr, CG ASF to CofS, 8 Jan 44, sub: Bacteriological Warfare. Cited in BW Research in the 
U.S., p. 20. 



ice actually issued the orders and directives necessary to implement WRS 
recommendations. The assigned research projects were to determine areas 
of investigation and special procedures necessary to maintain security, and 
to provide means of retaliation should the enemy resort to BW. 

To act as technical adviser to WRS, on 16 October 1942 a new group, 
known as the ABC Committee, an arbitrary alphabetical designation, was 
formed with the help of the National Academy of Sciences and the Na- 
tional Research Council. Its chairman was W. Mansfield Clark of Johns 
Hopkins University and among its members were Roger Adams and Dr. 
Milton C. Winternitz, who were then also directing chemical and medical 
research work through OSRD agencies for the Chemical Warfare Service. 
Liaison members included Ira L. Baldwin, of the University of Wisconsin, 
and Comdr. Leroy D. Fothergill, MC, USNR (later the successive direc- 
tors of the Special Projects Division, CWS); Colonel Defandorf, of the 
CWS Medical Research Division; Dr. Rolla E. Dyer, of the U.S. Public 
Health Service; and Mr. Merck, director of WRS. 

On the assumption that BW was a real and immediate threat to this 
nation, War Research Service as its first action initiated through the Of- 
fice of The Surgeon General antibiological warfare programs in the Hawaiian 
Department, the Caribbean Defense Command (including the Panama 
Canal Zone and Puerto Rico), the military districts of the United States, 
and in overseas theaters of operations. The programs instructed medical 
and security officers in detection and defense measures against biological 
attack and requested status reports of their plans and preparations. 14 Next, 
the WRS established approximately twenty-five contracts with universities 
and foundations for basic BW research. Most of these contracts were later 
transferred to the CWS. The War Reserach Service also established a spe- 
cial BW intelligence service, appointing the well-known novelist, John P. 
Marquand, as director of intelligence and information. 

Taking the view that U.S. preparations for BW depended on enemy 
plans and capabilities, WRS officials at once directed Mr. Marquand to 
make arrangements to obtain all available information on enemy BW ac- 
tivity in possession of the Assistant Chief of Staff, G-2, ONI, Medical In- 
telligence Division, OSS, and the FBI. The meager material in their files 
suggested to Mr. Marquand that these agencies might not be properly 
alerted to manifestations of BW activity, and G-2 sent instructions for 

14 (1) WD Radio 4622 (CM-OUT-7818), 30 Jun 42. (2) The ABW Section set up in the 
Hawaiian Dept, composed of Sanitary and Medical Corps personnel, submitted its first periodic 
status report in July 1942. 



collecting such intelligence to all military attaches and to theater and area 
commanders in the British Isles, North Africa, Middle East, China-Burma- 
India Theater, and the Pacific. When this alert also proved unproductive, 
Mr. Marquand himself went overseas, early in 1943, to consult with in- 
telligence authorities and with theater surgeons. Ope of the results of his 
visit was that WRS, with the approval of the Office of the Surgeon Gen- 
eral, recommended to the Secretary of War that blood samples be taken 
from prisoners of war to determine whether these individuals had been 
immunized against biological agents which the enemy might possibly em- 
ploy. 15 By means of these samples WRS hoped to learn, for example, 
whether Japanese troops were being inoculated against yellow fever, a dis- 
ease not present in the Far East, and whether Japanese or German troops 
were being protected against typhus, anthrax, dysentery, or botulism. It 
was also considered possible that improved methods of immunization de- 
veloped by enemy scientists might thus be discovered. However, the Army 
finally decided that this kind of examination would not yield useful 

CWS and the U.S. Biological Warfare Committee 

Even before civilian research had begun under WRS, the Chemical 
Warfare Service had felt that civilian agencies could not achieve the de- 
gree of BW readiness for which ultimately the military had to assume re- 
sponsibility. From long experience in preparing and maintaining a state of 
readiness for chemical warfare the service was certain that operational re- 
search and development in offensive aspects of BW, which required ex- 
tensive laboratory and field trials, could not be delegated. Nevertheless 
until November 1942 the War Department continued to be reluctant to 
permit any military agency to particpate directly in the biological research 
being conducted in the universities. By then the inability of WRS agen- 
cies to carry out research beyond the laboratory stage, and the necessity 
of establishing military requirements, had become apparent. "In order . . . 
to obtain a clearer understanding of the dangers that confronted the na- 
tion" the WRS issued a succession of directives making the Chemical 
Warfare Service directly responsible for the military phases of the program. 16 
To carry them out, the CWS began construction of Camp Detrick, the CWS 

15 BW Research in the U.S., pp. 129-30. 

16 Initiated with Memo, Dir WRS for C CWS, 10 Dec 42, sub: Request for Supplemental Re- 
search and Development. Cited in BW Research in U.S. % p. 24. 



biological warfare center, at Detrick Field, a National Guard airport near 
Frederick, Md., in April 1943, and by November it was in operation. The 
mounting threat of the German rocket program during 1943 gave added 
impetus to the urgency of American preparations for BW, for defense of- 
ficials thought these rockets might readily be converted into efficient ve- 
hicles for BW agents. Current reports of the OSS and the BW Sub- 
Committee of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on the BW potential of the enemy 
also served to increase apprehensions. In January 1944 the Secretary of War 
directed the Chief of Staff to transfer the entire BW program from War 
Research Service to the Chemical Warfare Service. The Army authorized 
the CWS to begin preparations for possible retaliation in BW and, in co- 
operation with The Surgeon General, to provide means and methods for 
protection against attack. 17 

With the transfer of the program to the CWS, the Army dissolved 
the War Research Service, and assigned the responsibility for civilian re- 
search and development to the OSRD, 18 Mr. Merck was appointed spe- 
cial consultant on BW to the Secretary of War, with Mr. Fred and Mr. 
Marquand as scientific adviser and intelligence aide, respectively, to Mr. 
Merck. The ABC Committee was succeeded by the DEF Committee 
which was headed by Dr. O. H. Perry Pepper of the University of Penn- 
sylvania, and which guided the technical program of the Special Projects 
Division, OC CWS, soon to be formed. 

The U.S. Biological Warfare Committee, with Mr. Merck as chairman, 
came into being in October 1944, as a supervisory body to make recom- 
mendations to the Secretary of War and Chief of Staff on policy and to 
establish liaison with its British counterpart, the London Inter-Service Sub- 
Committee on Biological Warfare (ISSCBW). Members of the new com- 
mittee included the Chief, Chemical Warfare Service; the director of the 
New Developments Division, WDSS; the director of the Office of Stra- 
tegic Services; the chief of the Navy Bureau of Ordnance; the Surgeon 
Generals of the Army and Navy; the chief of the Military Intelligence 
Service; the Chief of Staff, ASF; the chief of the Requirements Section, 
AGF; the assistant chief of Air Staff Plans; the British Army Staff rep- 
resentatives; the director of Canada's Department of Chemical Warfare and 
Smoke; and the CWS representative on the ISSCBW. Research and de- 

17 1st Ind, CofS to CG ASF, 14 Jan 44, and 2d Ind, CG ASF to C CWS, 1 5 Jan 44, to Memo 
SW for CofS, 13 Jan 44, sub: Biological Warfare. Cited in BW Research in the U.S., pp. 28-30. 

,K Soon after, almost all BW research was conducted by the military and by OSRD. James 
Phinney Baxter, 3rd, Scientists Against Time (Boston: Little, Brown, and Company, 1946), p. 269. 



velopment on BW in the United States remained under the direction of 
this committee until October 1945 when the War Department dissolved 
it and transferred its functions to the New Developments Division. 19 

The Special Projects Division 

The CWS had maintained an element variously known as the "Medi- 
cal Research Division," and "Special Assignments Branch" at Edgewood 
ever since August 194l, principally for studying biological warfare, acquir- 
ing the staff to conduct it, and in assigning BW research projects to NDRC 
agencies. It was not until 18 January 1944, howxver, that a separate or- 
ganization, the Special Projects Division, was established in the Office of 
the Chief, Chemical Warfare Service, to administer the biological warfare 

By January 1944 the CWS had already begun operations at Camp 
Detrick and at the field test station on Horn Island in Mississippi Sound, 
and was constructing the Granite Peak test installation, adjacent to Dug- 
way Proving Ground, Utah, and the Vigo plant in Indiana. 

The Special Projects Division was to develop measures for defense and 
retaliation against BW, to produce or procure the necessary material, to 
collect and evaluate intelligence on enemy activity, to maintain liaison 
with other military and civilian organizations concerned with biological 
warfare here and abroad, to prepare training publications and conduct in- 
struction in biological warfare, and to supply technical advice to the armed 
forces. 20 The division had an immense task and had to do the work hur- 
riedly because of the urgency of the problem as understood at that time. 
Construction, research, and instruction were necessarily simultaneous op- 
erations at all installations of the Special Projects Division. 

In April 1943, a little more than two weeks after the Army began 
construction at Detrick Field, Camp Detrick w T as formally activated. 21 
The Horn Island installation, with its 2,000 acres of sand dunes and 
scrub, began operations in October 1943. These were restricted to pre- 
liminary small-scale experiments because the island was only ten miles 
away from the mainland and because it was belatedly discovered that for 
two-thirds of the year the prevailing winds blew toward the mainland. 

19 Memo, Robert P. Patterson, SW, for General Marshall, 30 Oct 45. Cited in BW Research 
in the U.S., pp. 30, 494-95. 

BW Research in the U.S., pp. 51-52. 
21 BW Research in the U.S., pp. 36-39, 88-92. 



Biological Warfare Test Station, Granite Peak, Utah. 

In view of the limitations of Horn Island, the principal BW test station 
became Granite Peak, activated in June 1944, with test operations com- 
mencing shortly thereafter. The isolated terrain at Granite Peak, thirty- 
five miles from the military post at Dugway Proving Ground, made it a 
relatively safe area for testing living biological agents, and there all the 
major field studies were carried out. 22 

The Vigo plant was a converted Ordnance installation south of Terre 
Haute, Ind. The CWS took over the plant in May 1944. Scientists and 
engineers installed equipment for large-scale production of a harmless 
bacterium. Bacillus globigii, based on preliminary pilot plant studies made 
at Camp Detrick. The CWS did not intend to produce pathogenic agents 
until the plant had been thoroughly tested for safety and until employees 
could be trained to a high degree of efficiency. These operations were still 
in progress at the end of the war. 23 

To a greater degree, perhaps, than in any of the other CWS research 
programs, the one for biological warfare was a joint service undertaking. 
The Navy, for example, provided almost a quarter of the technical staff 
required at Camp Detrick and other test installations, drawing them prin- 
cipally from the Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery and the Bureau 

22 BW Research in the U.S., pp. 40-45, 92-94. 
2:i BW Research in the U.S., pp. 46-50 ; 94-97. 



of Ordnance. In addition the Navy Department maintained an independent 
research unit at the University of California, although its work was co- 
ordinated with that being done at Derrick and elsewhere in university 
laboratories. 24 

The Office of The Surgeon General, a participant in all matters con- 
cerning BW, had representatives from the outset on each of the commit- 
tees formed to study the problems and conduct of BW research. At the 
direction of the War Research Service, the Office of The Surgeon General 
and officers of the Medical Corps initiated antibiological warfare programs 
in the continental United States, in Hawaii, in the Canal Zone, and in 
the theaters of operation. The SGO also assigned trained sanitary engi- 
neers to protect essential industrial plants against sabotage. In co-operation 
with the CWS and the Corps of Engineers it developed procedures for 
protecting water supplies of municipalities and Army posts. In co-opera- 
tion with the Provost Marshal General, the Veterinary Corps inspected all 
meat and dairy products used by the Army. All food, beverage plants, 
and water supplies in the Hawaiian Department were inspected regularly. 
Studies were made of the possible dangers of sabotage of medical sup- 
plies while in production, in storage, or being distributed, and control 
methods were devised for use by the drug industry to prevent sabotage. 25 

When the War Department assumed responsibility for the BW pro- 
gram, it directed The Surgeon General to co-operate with Chemical Warfare 
Service in all defensive aspects of the project. It soon became apparent 
that the line between offensive and defensive BW research could seldom 
be distinguished. Further, The Surgeon General felt that it would not be 
proper or desirable for the Medical Department to accept responsibility 
for any phase of BW research. 26 The CWS therefore assumed both aspects 
of this research. While The Surgeon General was thus relieved of respon- 
sibility for the technical program, he designated a liaison officer to keep 
him informed of its progress and he made available scientists of his Pre- 
ventive Medicine Service, Veterinary Division, and Medical Consultants 
Division. At the same time, The Surgeon General set up a BW commit- 

24 BW Research in the U.S., pp. 60-65. 

25 Ltr, SO to G. W. Merck, WRS, 1 Apr 44, sub: Surgeon General Functions. Cited in BW 
Research in the U.S., p. 66. 

26 (1) Ltr, SGO to C CWS, 25 Jan 44, sub: Liaison Officer at Camp Decrick, Md. SGO 020. 
(2) Memo, Col K. R. Lundeberg, MC, OSG, for Maj Gen Kirk, Maj Gen Lull, Brig Gen Hill- 
man, and Brig Gen Simmons, 30 Mar 44. (3) Memo, C CWS for C SPD, 5 Apr 44, sub: Medical 
Research and Development Activities of the Special Projects Division. SPD 321. All cited in BW 
Research in U.S., pp. 67-69. 



tee in his office to advise him on BW policy and procedure and to direct 
the procurement and storage of all biological supplies developed by the 
Special Projects Division for protecting personnel against biological agents. 

At the peak of operations the Special Projects Division was the largest 
single research element in the Chemical Warfare Service and vied only 
with the Manhattan Project— at times successfully— in securing certain 
types of scientists. It was so large, in fact, that it was extremely difficult 
at times to control the numerous research divisions at Camp Detrick. The 
best known demonstration of this unwieldiness was in the independent 
and original achievement of workers in two different divisions, each of 
which was able to claim legitimate credit for isolating, for the first time, 
the Type A botulinum toxin. In August 1945, at maximum strength, the 
division had 396 Army officers, 2,466 Army enlisted men, 124 Navy 
officers, 844 Navy enlisted men, and 206 civilians. 27 

Keeping It Secret 

From the very beginning responsible officials maintained the strictest 
secrecy in this country, Canada, and England concerning the fact that 
work was being done in BW. They took stringent security measures not 
only to prevent the enemy from obtaining information, but also to keep 
the public and the armed forces from becoming unduly alarmed over the 
possibility of BW. 

Security and Safety 

Because they were set up as classified exempt stations, Camp Detrick 
and other BW installations took elaborate precautions to conceal their 
purpose. The professional background of employees could not be revealed, 
no person receiving "special procedures" (as the vaccination routines were 
called) might donate blood to the Red Cross, and the nature of materials 
and stores procured for the installation was disguised. 

An important phase of security operations at Camp Detrick involved 
the nearby town of Frederick. Despite all efforts, as was reported in a 
security survey made in the town, anyone who really wanted to find out 

27 By comparison, after four years the British BW group under Dr. Paul Fildes at Porton 
numbered 45, comprising 15 officers and civilians (including 4 officers supplied by Camp Detrick), 
20 enlisted technicians, and 10 female helpers. See Report on Visit of Lt Col Oram C. Woolpert 
(Chief of Tech Dept CD) to ETO, 22 May-2 Jul 44, p. 2. Cited in BW Research in the U.S., 
pp. 75, 479-81. 



that BW research was being conducted at Detrick could easily have done 
so through the camp construction workers who lived in Frederick and the 
post employees who visited its restaurants, stores, and theaters, or by 
studying the type of materials purchased for the post in Frederick or 
shipped in by rail Above all, the physical layout of the camp, with its 
smoke stacks and special sewage arrangements, was informative, and clearly 
visible from Braddock Heights, a nearby prominence. The security officer 
nevertheless found that townspeople in general considered Detrick only a 
secret chemical warfare installation and either showed little interest or 
pointedly refrained from expressing curiosity about it. 28 

All research at Detrick had to be geared to considerations of safety 
in order to minimize the danger of exposure to pathogenic organisms. 
The creation of a Safety Division was one of the first steps in the organ- 
ization of the center, its functions equally divided between a biological 
protection group and operational safety control groups. The first element 
was made responsible for close inspection of employees, first aid, and im- 
munization; the second for inspection of operations in the pilot plants 
and laboratories, and for providing methods of detecting, decontaminating, 
and treating biological materials and wastes which might escape and infect 
the people at Camp Detrick or in the surrounding community. Many of 
the practices, testing devices, and techniques developed by the Safety Divi- 
sion for research and development operations at Camp Detrick, some of 
them wholly new and others on a scale never attempted previously, have 
since been applied to industry and medicine. 29 


The extraordinary effectiveness of American security and counterintel- 
ligence policies was revealed after the fall of Germany and Japan. The 
security measures of Germany and Japan made their capabilities almost 
equally inscrutable, a matter of concern to the United States since to a 
degree the direction of the CWS's BW program depended on knowledge 
of enemy intentions. 

When the War Department assumed control of BW research, the 
CWS's Special Projects Division took charge of intelligence. It sent War 
Department directives to all theaters and commands alerting them to BW, 
describing defensive measures against possible sabotage, and recommend- 

28 BW Research in the U.S., pp. 127-29- 

29 BW Research in the U.S., pp. 151-52, 159-67. 



ing appointment of staff BW officers. In the European Theater of Opera- 
tions, for example, the Chief Chemical Officer prepared BW plans and 
directives, supervised BW training, maintained liaison with British BW 
authorities in the theater, and co-operated with the Chief Surgeon and 
Assistant Chief of Staff, G-2. The period of greatest apprehension occurred 
in the early months of 1944 when planners feared that, as the allied offen- 
sive across both oceans began to move forward, the enemy in the face of 
his steady deterioration might "in desperation resort to biological war- 
fare." 30 Largely to meet this threat, the service established a BW school at 
Camp Detrick, with the first class held in February 1944. After attending 
the school, the chief of CWS intelligence went overseas to alert CWS 
officers in the Middle East and North Africa theaters. Other graduates 
went from Detrick to the China-Burma-India and Pacific theaters to in- 
doctrinate G-2, ONI, and medical officers stationed there. The Army 
attached trained BW officers to all major military operations in Europe 
and in the Pacific. Chiefs of the Joint Intelligence Collecting Agency in 
the North African, Middle East, and China-Burma-India theaters were 
given BW instructions, as were military attaches in New Zealand, Canada, 
Sweden, Spain, Portugal, South Africa, China, and Australia. Also CWS 
members of the ASF materiel collecting teams, previously briefed on what 
BW materiel to look for, arrived in the European, North Africa, South 
Pacific, Southwest Pacific, Central Pacific, and China-Burma-India theaters 
in the summer of 1944. All BW intelligence flowing from these far-flung 
sources, as well as from service and central intelligence agencies, was 
reported in the voluminous Special Projects Periodic Intelligence Reports. 

On neither the intelligence nor instructional level were British efforts 
as strenuous as those of the United States. They had no school similar to 
that at Camp Detrick, nor did they train special BW officers. Then, too, 
they had no counterpart to the United States BW intelligence network. 
They gave instruction in BW only to the highest echelons of command, 
whereas the CWS prepared directives for all those above troop level in 
the Chemical Warfare Service and in American medical and intelligence 
services. 31 

30 (1) Ltr, TAG to CinC SWPA and CG's TofOpns, Eastern and Caribbean Defense Comds, 
and Alaska Dept, 14 Feb 44, sub: Biological Warfare. AG 381 (9 Feb 44) OB-S-B-M. (2) Ltr, 
TAG to CG's TofOpns, 28 Mar 44, sub: Defense Against Sabotage Methods of Biological Warfare 
in the Theaters of Operations. AG 381 (24 Feb 44) OB-S-E-4. Both cited in BW Research in 
the U.S., p. 134. 

31 Rpc, Visit of Lt Col Woolpert to ETO, 22 May-2 Jul 44. Cited in BW Research in the 
U.S., p. 145. 



The findings of the ALSOS Mission provided the first indication that 
the truth about German BW activities was considerably at variance with 
earlier intelligence reports. False reports of German intentions to resort to 
germ warfare had unquestionably been spread as a psychological warfare 
weapon. In spite of the first reports of the mission, tension was not re- 
laxed until early in 1945, when it was generally agreed that it was too 
late for Germany to use BW as a tactical weapon against Allied forces. 

The comprehensive report of September 1945 prepared by the BW 
team with the ALSOS Mission 32 revealed that BW research in Germany 
had been aimed at devising defensive measures against possible Allied use 
of biological agents and specifically against the sabotage efforts of guerrilla 
fighters that menaced the German Army in Poland and Russia. Among 
the biological agents reportedly used by guerillas against German troops 
in the Eastern theater were typhoid bacilli, botulinum toxin, typhus, 
dysentery, glanders, cholera, anthrax, and paratyphoid. 

Investigators examined more than seventy sites in Europe where Ger- 
mans had conducted medical research. Nazi defensive measures consisted 
mainly in alerting agriculture, veterinary, and public health officials to the 
dangers of biological attack. They took their only large-scale defensive 
measure in 1942, when, after hearing that Russian troops had been im- 
munized against plague, they sent one million doses of plague vaccine to 
the Stalingrad front. The files of German intelligence gave extensive in- 
formation on Russian and Polish BW efforts and were fairly complete 
on French research. But they contained no reliable information from the 
United Spates or the United Kingdom after 1942, a tribute to security 
precautions. For example, in German intelligence files the ALSOS mission 
found a report stating that the United States had a large BW agent pro- 
duction plant at Huntsville Arsenal, Ala., and that the U.S. BW program 
was headed by an outstanding microbiologist, Col. Harry Lebkicher. The 
facts were that Huntsville Arsenal handled only chemical warfare, never 
biological warfare operations, and that Colonel Lebkicher was not a biolo- 
gist and never had an assignment in BW— he was commanding officer of 
the Chicago Chemical Warfare Procurement District. 33 

Japanese activities were better organized and more comprehensive than 

32 Its members were J. M. Barnes, RAMC; C. Henze, MC, AUS; W. J. Cromartie, MC, AUS; 
and J. W. Hofer, MC, USNR. 

31 (1) Int Rpt B-C-H-H-305, Mil Int Serv, ALSOS Mission, 12 Sep 45, pp. 82-88. (2) Memo, 
C Int Br SPD for Consultant to SW, 20 Aug 45, sub: Final Resume of German BW Activities. 
Both cited in BW Research in the U.S., p. 140. 



those of Germany. Japan appears to have started biological warfare studies 
as early as 1936, with the principal wartime research centered in a Defense 
Intelligence Institute, near Harbin in Manchuria, where 2,500 people were 
employed at the peak of operations. The institute developed munitions 
for glanders and anthrax. Allied intelligence seems to have been accurate 
in its accounts of a Japanese bacillus bomb, its name literally translated 
as "disease frozen germs," and experiments seem to have been made, as 
reported, in the dissemination of typhoid, diphtheria, and cholera. The 
Japanese denied, however, that the more than 9,000 paper balloons they 
constructed, of which a number, more than thirty feet in diameter and 
capable of lifting sixty-five pounds, sailed across the Pacific to the west 
coast and Canada early in 1945, were intended for BW attack. The Japa- 
nese claimed that the balloons, which actually contained explosive and 
incendiary material, had been sent in reprisal for the Doolittle raid. 34 

Defense Against Biological Attack 

The CWS and SGO investigated special physical, chemical, and medi- 
cal measures to protect the armed forces and civilian population against 
biological warfare. In this effort, basic defensive measures were first de- 
veloped to safeguard the thousands of workers engaged in the Special 
Projects Division laboratories. Techniques had to be devised for detect- 
ing, sampling, screening, and identifying a great variety of living organ- 
isms and their toxic products. Equipment had to be designed, constructed, 
and installed to handle processes never before carried out. Protective 
clothing, masks, and equipment had to be developed for use in the labo- 
ratories, plant areas, and field test stations. Many of these primary steps 
in defense on behalf of SPD employees were taken to provide the basis 
for the development of protective measures for the soldier in combat 
should biological warfare become an actuality. 35 

Detection and Identification of Biological Agents 

In war an unusual outbreak of disease would probably be the first in- 
dication that BW agents were being employed. Troops would immediately 
need a sampling device to detect organisms. The CWS therefore devised 

34 (1) Lt Col Arvo T. Thompson, VQ Report on Japanese Biological Warfare (BW) Activities, 
31 May 46, pp. i-iii, 6-7. (2) Inf & Int Ltr, 6, ASF POA, 21 May 45. Tech Lib, Camp Detrick. 
Both cited in BW Research in the U.S., pp. 140-41. 

35 BW Research in the U.S., passim. 



a sampling kit to detect biological agents in the field. It contained cotton 
impinger and liquid impinger apparatus for air sampling; cotton swabs, 
syringes, and pipettes for material sampling; and means of refrigerating 
the materials collected. Contaminated air and materials collected by these 
devices would then be taken to the field or base laboratory for identifi- 
cation. 36 

As in standard hospital practice, identification of micro-organisms could 
sometimes be made by direct or microscopic examination of sample organ- 
isms which were grown on agar plates, but the most reliable detection 
test for most biological agents involved animal inoculation and response. 
By inoculating animals scientists could detect most pathogenic organisms 
and their toxins. Examination by smear would then be possible, using the 
exudate from wounds or lesions or with sputum, feces, blood, or urine. 
This evidence could then be corroborated by means of blood chemistry 
analysis, blood cell counts, and urinalysis. As the infection declined or 
recovery was effected, detection would also become possible through the 
appearance and identification of antibodies in the blood. These could be 
demonstrated by agglutination reactions, toxin neutralization, or virus 
neutralization. With proper identification thus made, countermeasures 
against the particular agent or agents become possible. 

Biological and Chemical Protection 

During the war, Camp Detrick and university laboratories investigated 
biological, chemical, and mechanical means of protecting troops against 
potential biological warfare agents. While soap and water afforded ele- 
mentary protection in uncomplicated circumstances, the agents and vehicles 
in biological warfare would have required somewhat more complex pro- 
tection. At Camp Detrick biological protection against micro-organisms 
included the use of vaccines, toxoids, and immune sera, as well as 
penicillin and streptomycin. Disinfectants and antiseptics, standard CWS 
decontaminating agents, and the new chemotherapeutic agents like the 
sulfa drugs provided chemical protection. Mechanical and physical protec- 
tion was possible with special leakproof masks and protective clothing 
which would exclude organisms, and the employment of heat (as in in- 
cineration or the use of the autoclave), desiccation, starvation, sunlight, 
osmotic pressure, and filtration for the removal, inhibition, or destruction 
of organisms. The CWS considered it feasible to protect large groups of 
36 BW Research in the U.S., pp. 159-62. 



people by special adaptation of the gasproof shelter and collective pro- 
tector, through the maintenance of strict sanitary discipline, the application 
of public health principles, and by means of immunization. 

While no immunological protection was possible in gas warfare, con- 
siderable protection could be conferred in biological warfare by protective 
equipment and through increased body resistance. Since the best means of 
increasing resistance to specific disease organisms was by immunization 
through the administration of vaccines, the CWS devoted a major part 
of the BW program to the development and production of new vaccines 
and toxoids. Before World War II, scientists had prepared vaccines for 
use against such diseases as smallpox, yellow fever, cholera, typhoid and 
paratyphoid fevers, diphtheria, tetanus, plague, typhus fever, and influenza. 
Of these typhoid, diphtheria, tetanus, smallpox, and yellow fever vaccines 
appear to have been exceptionally effective but the others had limited 
value against the diseases as they occurred naturally, and would probably 
have had considerably less protective value against an attack employing 
high concentrations of the disease agent. 37 

Among the accomplishments in biological protection made public after 
the war may be mentioned new influenza vaccines and the development 
of effective toxoids against Types A and B botulinum toxin. For the pro- 
tection of livestock and domestic fowl— exceedingly vulnerable targets in 
the event of biological warfare— researchers discovered means for mass pro- 
duction of highly effective vaccines for rinderpest, an animal disease, and 
for Newcastle disease and fowl plague, domestic fowl diseases. 38 

In addition to the vaccines, a new means of biological protection for 
the individual was made possible by the recently developed antibiotic 
agents referred to above. While usually employed in treatment, tliey could 
also be used prophylactically for short periods of time and, it was be- 
lieved, they might have an advantage over vaccines in conferring protec- 
tion immediately after administration. On the basis of wartime studies, 
there was evidence that penicillin might be effective in treating human 
anthrax and that streptomycin was effective in treating tularemia. 

37 BW Research in the U.S., pp. 152-58. 

38 (1) H. Reames et al., "Studies on Botulinum Toxoids, Types A and B: Immunization of 
Man," Journal of Immunology, 55 ( 1947). (2) M. W. Hale and R. V. L. Walker, "Rinderpest 
XIII, The Production of Rinderpest Vaccine from an Attenuated Strain of Virus," American Journal 
of Veterinary Research, 7 (1946), 199-211. (3) C A. Brandly et al., "Immunization of Chickens 
Against Newcastle Disease," American Journal of Veterinary Research, 7 ( 1946), 307-32. 
(4) C. A, Brandly et al., "Newcastle Disease and Fowl Plague Investigations in the War Research 
Program," Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, 108 (1946), 369-70. 



In the realm of chemical protection, it appeared that the chemothera- 
peutic agent, sulfadiazine, might be one of the principal means of attack- 
ing the organisms causing glanders and melioidosis once they invaded the 
body. Other substances providing varying degrees of chemical protection 
were found among the common antiseptics and disinfectants. The chemical 
which most nearly met the conditions of an ideal germicide for military 
and civilian purposes was ordinary calcium hypochlorite, or bleach, the 
same material used for neutralizing mustard gas. It was effective against 
almost all micro-organisms. Its action was rapid, large quantities were 
available, it was not hazardous to use, it was easily inactivated, and it 
could be used in a variety of apparatus. Similarly, decontaminating agent, 
noncorrosive, or DANC, another demustardizing agent, was effective in BW 
for disinfecting the metal surfaces of equipment and instruments. Methyl 
bromide, found in the standard Quartermaster delousing kit, proved an 
effective sterilizer, and carboxide, the Navy fumigating agent, sterilized 
both clothing and equipment. Formaldehyde when dispersed with steam 
under pressure in enclosed spaces also made a good decontaminating agent, 
and the CWS M2 smoke generator and commercial spray apparatus could 
be used to vaporize a formalin-water mixture for the sterilization of air. 
Finally, certain glycols in the form of aerosol mists were satisfactory for 
use with the standard collective protector installed in a modified gasproof 

Protective Masks and Clothing 

Where, under combat conditions, there was danger of biological war- 
fare and no way of knowing what micro-organisms an enemy might use, 
the individual soldier would, as in gas warfare, have to rely on his mask 
and special protective clothing. One of the most pressing problems of 
CWS research, therefore, was to devise truly effective leakproof combat 
and service masks. 

A minute degree of leakage could be tolerated in the standard mask 
under gas attack. But biological agents are not molecular particles like war 
gases. They are suspensions of solids in the air, and a few disease micro- 
organisms entering the facepiece might produce a casualty. The mask for 
biological warfare, therefore,, had to be at least an estimated 1,000,000 
times more efficient than the standard service gas mask. 39 

39 BW Research in the U.S., p. 177. 



Technicians attained near zero leakage by modifying the M5 combat 
mask and adding to it a special leakproof headpiece made of butyl coated 
airplane cloth. This impermeable headpiece, covering the entire head and 
the facepiece of the mask except for the eyepieces and canister, reduced 
peripheral leakage of the mask facepiece and provided a dead air space 
around the outlet valve of the mask, thus affording a high degree of pro- 
tection at that point. The slight positive pressure exerted within the head- 
piece by the trapped exhaled air made entry of air impossible except 
through the canister. The weight of this BW mask, including facepiece, 
headpiece, canister, and carrier was 3.2 pounds, making it a practicable as 
well as highly effective unit of protection in the event of BW combat. 
Further development resulted in a leakproof service mask weighing 2.3 
pounds, with a headpiece of butyl coated nylon, improved eyelenses per- 
mitting better vision, and with the canister fitted inside the headpiece. 
Although both of these combat and service masks were considered satis- 
factory, improvements were still being made by V-J Day. 40 

The special protective clothing designed for laboratory workers at 
Camp Detrick was" not considered practicable for combat troops. Almost 
complete physical protection was achieved with the impermeable coverall 
made of wind-resistant, water-repellent Oxford cotton cloth. But this very 
impermeability, because it prevented the perspiration from escaping, also 
put limits on the length of time it could be worn and the degree 
of strenuous exercise possible. For particularly hazardous laboratory opera- 
tions, a special ventilated suit was designed which provided absolute pro- 
tection. This was a one-piece garment of two layers of nylon cloth bonded 
together with neoprene, and with gloves and shoes of rubber cemented 
to the fabric. Air introduced into the back of the suit by hose enabled 
the wearer to work in the attire. 

For combat troops, the standard two-piece, permeable, herringbone twill 
uniform, when treated by the CWS aqueous impregnating process, was 
considered the best available protective clothing which could be worn in 
comfort. Tests indicated that the suit would probably exclude half the 
number of organisms to which the body would be exposed without the 
clothing. The addition of special ankle-length underwear under the suit 
increased the degree of protection, probably raising the exclusion of organ- 
isms to almost 90 percent, 41 provided that sleeves of the uniform were 

40 BW Research in the U.S., pp. 177-84. 

41 BW Research in the U.S., pp. 184-86. 



tied tightly at the wrists, pants legs fastened to the ankles or stuffed 
inside combat shoes, and all other openings carefully secured. 

The CC-2 impregnite used in protective clothing, researchers found, 
had considerable sporocidal properties. The standard aqueous impregnation 
process appeared to give the most powerful bactericidal and sporocidal 
properties to the clothing, although relatively high atmospheric humidity 
was required for the most efficient action. On the other hand, M5 anti- 
mustard ointment was found to have negligible bactericidal and sporocidal 
properties when applied as skin protection. Instead, gloves of Oxford cot- 
ton cloth seemed reasonably efficient for the purpose, and, for prolonged 
wearing, more comfortable than medical rubber gloves. 42 

The Achievement in Biological Warfare Research 

A brief resume of this country's BW achievements, published on 3 
January 1946 and based on a comprehensive report by Mr. Merck to the 
Secretary of War, was the first War Department release informing the 
general public of the fact that the Army and Navy had been engaged in 
the study of biological warfare. 43 Among the accomplishments of the BW 
research and development reported then and later were: (1) fundamental 
contributions had been made regarding nutrition and conditions of growth 
of micro-organisms, as well as safe procedures for their quantity produc- 
tion; (2) methods had been developed for accurate detection of small 
numbers of minute quantities of micro-organisms; (3) many contributions 
were made to the knowledge of control of airborne diseases; (4) signifi- 
cant contributions had been made to the knowledge concerning the devel- 
opment of immunity against certain infectious diseases of humans and 
animals; (5) important advances were achieved in the treatment of certain 
infectious diseases of humans and animals; (6) important information had 
been secured on the production and control of certain diseases in plants 
and on the effectiveness of over 1,000 different chemical agents on a variety 
of plant life. 

Between October 1945 and June 1947 the CWS published a total of 
156 scientific and technical papers based upon wartime research and 
development at Camp Detrick and presented 28 other papers at scientific 

42 BW Research in the U.S., pp. 187-91. 

43 Some of the material of this report appeared in Military Surgeon, 98 (1946), 237-42, and 
in Science, 103 (31 May 46), 662-63- See also George W. Merck, "Peacetime Implications of 
Biological Warfare," Chemical and Engineering News, 24 (25 May 46), 1346-49. 



In evaluating the magnitude of 
American BW achievement it should 
be remembered that the United States 
began operations with British and 
Canadian experience to draw on and 
with the added advantages over these 
allies of almost unlimited funds and 
personnel and with the finest facili- 
ties obtainable. There was also some 
justice in the remark reported by the 
chief of technical operations at Camp 
Detrick, after a visit to his British 
counterpart in 1944, that there was 
"a certain amount of duplication of 
effort in the several countries; that 
we in the States [did] not take full 
account of their fundamental studies 
and . . . attacked de novo problems 
which they had solved satisfacto- 
rily." 44 

It could not, perhaps, have been 
otherwise. Despite its kinship with 

public health medicine and preventive ■ medicine, biological warfare research 
and development, on the scale undertaken in World War II, was literally 
something new under the sun. Both the United States and its allies had 
to work by empirical methods, without precedent, and with all possible 
haste. America had to prepare to defend itself, and to have an offensive 
weapon for retaliation. 

A series of implications drawn from American experience in BW re- 
search was reported in 1946 in a public document prepared by former 
officials of the United States Biological Warfare Committee. 45 There it 
was asserted that the development of agents for biological warfare was 
possible in many countries, large and small, without vast expenditures of 
money or the construction of large-scale production facilities. It was quite 

George W. Merck, Special Consult- 
ant to the Secretary of War, visiting 
Camp Detrick, Maryland. Col. Joseph 
D. Sears, left. 

44 Rpt, Visit of Lt Col Woolpert to ETO, 22 May-2 Jul 44, p. 3. Cited in BW Research in 
the U.S., pp. 479-81. 

4 ^ G. W. Merck, E. B. Fred, I. L. Baldwin, and W. B. Sarles, "Implications of Biological War- 
fare," The United States and the United Nations Report Series No. 5, The International Control of 
Atomic Enery, Department of State, Pub. 2661 (Washington, 1946) pp. 65-71. 



probable that research directed toward enhancing the virulence of known 
pathogens would result in the production of varieties much more virulent 
than those already known. Finally, unlike other fields, it would be ex- 
tremely difficult to control research and development work in biological 

Biological agents, like toxic agents, were not used in the war, but the 
money spent by the United States on BW, like that spent on CW, was 
not thrown away. Rather, the expenditures should be viewed in the light 
of the harm that might have come to an unprepared America through a 
sneak BW attack. 


Chemical Mortars and Shells 

The 4.2-Inch Chemical Mortar 

Weapons available to American ground troops for delivering toxic 
agents included Livens projectors, grenades, land mines, mortars, rockets, 
and artillery shells. If gas warfare had broken out, the burden would have 
fallen chiefly on the 4.2-inch chemical mortars of CWS mortar battalions. 

The 4.2-inch mortar descended from the old Stokes mortar of the 
British Army. Britain invented the Stokes in World War I to overcome 
the disadvantages of gas cloud attacks. Gas clouds could be tremendously 
effective under the proper conditions, but they required considerable labor, 
were wholly dependent upon the weather, could only be used with a few 
gases, and, by their color and odor, sometimes warned the enemy. The 
Stokes had a smoothbore barrel and therefore could not fire shells with 
pin-point accuracy. On the other hand, it had certain advantages. Troops 
could easily move it and fire shells at the rapid rate of twenty a minute. 
Each shell held more than two quarts of toxic agent. Because of these 
factors a mortar could suddenly overwhelm an enemy position with a 
large amount of poison gas. 1 

The First Gas Regiment of the CWS obtained Stokes mortars from 
the British in 1918, and employed them along the western front. In July 
1918 the Army contracted with American firms for the manufacture of 
these mortars. More than 400 were turned out but they did not reach 
France in time for battle. 

1 Fries and West, Chemical Warfare, pp. 16-18. (2) For the early use of the Stokes mortar 
see: Foulkes, "Gas/" The Story of the Special Brigade, pp. 109-1 1. 


Stokes Mortar Firing Gas Shells, World War I 

The CWS found the Stokes mortar a versatile, useful weapon, and 
in the early 1920's set out to lengthen its range. The objective, as laid 
down by General Fries, was to double the World War I range of 1,100 
yards. 2 Early experiments showed that heavy powder charges could hurl 
the shell only a few hundred yards beyond the normal range. This was 
dangerous since the higher pressure within the mortar at the instant of 
explosion could burst the barrel. The designers attached fins to the shell, 
enabling it to fly through the air like a dart, and shot it 2,600 yards. But the 
shock from the exploding propellant generally damaged the fins, and the 
shell's flight was short and erratic. In 1924 Captain McBride and Dr. G. S. 
Maxwell rifled several barrels with varying pitches and numbers of grooves. 
During machining operations metal was gouged out of the bore, increas- 
ing its diameter from four to four and two-tenths inches between lands. 
This marked the end of the old smoothbore Stokes mortar, and the be- 
ginning of the new 4.2-inch chemical mortar. On 7 June 1924 one of the 

2 (1) A. E. Nissen, A. A. Gandy, and A. L. Hodges, 4.2-Inch Chemical Mortar. EAMD 2<5 } 
17 Mar 27. (2) Maj. Gen. Amos A. Fries, ''General Fries," Armed Forces Chemical Journal, 1 
(October 1946), 12, 51. 



experimental barrels sent three shells through the air on accurate, spin- 
stabilized flights of almost 2,300 yards. 

Adoption of a rifled barrel made it necessary for engineers to redesign 
each component of the mortar, from baseplate to shell fuze. World War 
I shells had had an allways fuze to make certain that the tumbling shell 
would explode no matter whether it landed on its base, side, or nose. 
Fuzes of this type could not be used in a spinning shell since centrifugal 
force would activate the fuze and cause the shell to burst as it left the 
muzzle of the mortar. After considerable experimentation, engineers de- 
veloped a safe, dependable fuze that could be set for impact or time. 

Something had to be done to prevent liquid fillings, such as mustard 
or phosgene, from surging around the inside of the shell, unbalancing it 
and causing it to tumble and yaw in flight. This characteristic had not 
mattered with the Stokes mortar since its shells had tumbled anyway, but 
it affected the accuracy and range of the rifled mortar. Technicians solved 
this problem by fastening vanes inside the shell to swirl the fillings as 
the shell spun through the air. 

To seal the bore against loss of explosion gases, and to force the shell 
to rotate as it sped up the barrel, the men had to devise a driving mech- 
anism for the base of the projectile. This consisted of two round plates, 
one of brass and one of steel, the brass disk designed so that its edge 
could be forced outward by pressure. When the powder exploded, gas 
pressure rammed the steel plate up against the softer brass plate, forcing 
its edge out and into the grooves, sealing the gases in, and forcing the 
shell to spiral out of the barrel. 

For the baseplate of the Stokes mortar it had been feasible to have a 
steel cup, bolted to an oak plank. But recoil from the new 4.2-inch barrel 
soon pounded this type of baseplate into splinters, and a forged steel 
baseplate had to be produced. Finally in 1928, after several years of ex- 
perimentation, model Ml 4.2-inch chemical mortar was ready for service. 3 

During the next decade CWS engineers put considerable thought into 
improving the standard model. The practice of digging an emplacement, 
which took time and reduced the mobility of the mortar, was abandoned 

:i (1) Ltr, Maj Gen Amos A. Fries to TAG, 17 Apr 28, sub: Adoption as to Type, with inds. 
CWS 400.114/280. (2) 4.2-Inch Chemical Mortar, a monograph in series, History of Research 
and Development of the CWS in World War II. (3) An excellent review of all phases of mortar 
development from World War I to 1945, is: George A. Miller, "The Development of the 4.2- 
Inch Chemical Mortar," Armed Forces Chemical journal, III (October 1948), 33-42; III (January 
1949) 35-42. 



and the base was placed directly on the ground. The two legged support 
inherited from the Stokes mortar was improved and retained for a time, 
but it proved to be so awkward that it gave way to a single leg. Engi- 
neers then found it necessary to place connecting rods between the base- 
plate and barrel support to keep the recoil from forcing base and support 
apart, The barrels, hitherto obtained from old Stokes mortars, were made 
specifically for the new model from seamless drawn-nickel steel tubing. 
A spring shock absorber was placed on the barrel to prevent the force 
of recoil from breaking the connection between the support and the bar- 
rel. At last after seven years of work the CWS completed a greatly 
improved mortar, model MlAl, with a range of 2,400 yards. This mortar 
was in the hands of chemical troops at the time of Pearl Harbor. 4 

Increasing the Range in World War II 

The next step in the development of the mortar came about as a 
result of an addition to the mission of CWS troops. Up to the time of 
America's entrance into the war, the mortar had been considered as a 
weapon for firing toxic agents, smoke, and incendiaries at the enemy. In 
April 1942 General Porter asked the Services of Supply for permission to 
use high explosive ammunition in the mortar. Chemical troops had fired 
HE in World War I, and if allowed to do the same in World War II 
it would broaden their usefulness in the theaters of operation. The SOS 
gave its consent, thereby again giving the CWS impetus in lengthening 
the range. 

The mortar had been developed under the prewar doctrine that chem- 
ical shells would be employed only within a range of 2,400 yards. This 
concept did not apply to HE, and the CWS set about increasing this dis- 
tance before the mortars saw action. Engineers could have lengthened the 
range by redesigning parts of the mortar, but such a step would have 
taken time. The quickest way was to use more powder. When tests dem- 
onstrated that 50 percent more powder hurled the projectile an additional 
800 yards, bringing the total distance up to 3,200 yards, a larger charge 
was adopted. The higher explosion pressure imposed more strain on the 
barrel and baseplate than they had been designed for. To prevent accidents 
the service adopted a tougher barrel and baseplate. To prevent mortar 
squads from using the old barrel and perhaps blowing themselves up the 

4 (1) CWTC Item TB, 21 Feb 35. (2) CWTC Item 485, Standardization of Barrel, 4.2-Inch 
Chemical Mortar, M2, 31 Mar 42. (3) TM 3-320, 15 Oct 42, with changes 1 to 5. 



CWS designated all mortars with the new barrel as model M2. The CWS 
carried the M2 into all theaters and some were still in action at the end 
of the war. 5 

The 4.2-inch mortar first saw action in the taking of Sicily in the sum- 
mer of 1943. Mortar squads were among the first waves of troops to hit 
the beach, and they went into action a few minutes after landing. During 
the thirty-eight day campaign they shot 35,000 rounds of ammunition in 
crash concentration, harassing, interdictory, and counterbattery fire, and in 
tactical smoke screening missions. The mortar made an excellent impres- 
sion on commanders of infantry, ranger, armored, and airborne units. 
Thereafter there was no question that the CWS had taken the right course 
in turning the chemical mortar into a HE delivering weapon. 6 

After troops tried out mortars in Europe, they began calling for a longer 
range. Back in the United States the CWS had already anticipated the 
demand and had succeeded in adding another thousand yards to the flight 
of mortar shells. It had achieved the increase by changing the form of 
the propellant so that it burned slowly, gave off gas more evenly, and 
thereby became more efficient. Lt. Arthur R. T. Denues had experimented 
with the propellant, trying different shapes, arrangements, and types, and 
had finally found that with disks of powder of a certain thickness, the 
range depended upon the number of disks. The minimum charge, which 
lobbed the shell only 340 yards, could be lengthened to 4,400 yards sim- 
ply by adding more disks. The maximum gas pressure did not become 
excessive, and there was no disturbance in the ballistics of liquid filled 
shells. The disks were cut square, with a hole in the center to allow the 
disk to slip on the cartridge container. Sufficient disks, sewn together in 
bundles of different thickness, were placed on each shell before shipment 
to give a range of 4,397 yards. Before the shell was fired, the mortar squad 
could remove one or more disks to shorten the range. 7 

5 (1) Interv, Hist Off with Theodore R. Paulson, 16 Nov 56. (2) CWTC Item 636, Standard- 
ization of M5A1 Propelling Charge for 4.2-Inch Chemical Mortar, 12 Jan 43. (3) CWTC Item 
673, Standardization of Charge, Propelling, 4.2-Inch Chemical Mortar, M5A1. (4) CWTC Item 
727, Standardization of Baseplate, 4.2-Inch Chemical Mortar, M2A1, 11 Jun 43. (5) Baum, 
Columbia University Chemical Warfare Service Laboratories. (6) CWTC Item 564, Redesignation 
and Reclassification of 4.2-Inch Chemical Mortars and Equipment, 29 Sep 42. (7) TM 3-320, 
Jun 45. 

6 The Chemical Warfare Service in World War II (New York: Reinhold Publishing Corp., 
1948), pp. 127-28. 

7 (1) Lt A. R. T. Denues, Preliminary Investigations and Engineering Tests to Develop In- 
creased Range for the 4.2-Inch Chemical Mortar by Means Adapted to Immediate Field Use. 
TDMR 549, 17 Feb 43. (2) CWTC Item 673. 



Notwithstanding that the range of the mortar had almost doubled by 
1944, troops in the field were still not satisfied. They wanted the weapon 
to hit targets 5,000 or more yards away. One means of accomplishing this 
was to devise a jet accelerator that would fit on the base of a shell and 
give it a boost after it left the barrel. The CWS started work on such a 
device, but soon canceled the project after a survey showed that develop- 
ment would take too long, and that men with the know-how could not 
be spared from other mortar projects. 8 

Two other courses lay open to the CWS, a long-term project to com- 
pletely redesign the mortar from baseplate to standard, and a short proj- 
ect—which might or might not work— of again modifying the propellant. 
Experiments with the propellant began after calculations and preliminary 
experiments indicated that the velocity of the shell could be increased 100 
feet per second and the range jumped to more than 5,000 yards if the 
chamber volume of the mortar and the weight of powder were doubled. 
Engineers set up an experimental mortar and made test firings, but to 
their surprise the shells had an unexpectedly short range. They carefully 
checked all possible sources of error and at last discovered that the high 
pressure from the explosion had deformed the rotating disk on the base 
of the shell and this had increased the air resistance. Development of a 
new rotating mechanism proved to be the major task in extending the 
range, but when the job was finished the mortar shell carried distances 
of 5,600 yards in firings at Edgewood in June 1945. These results obtained 
in the shop and on the test field occurred too late in the war to be trans- 
mitted to the battlefield. 9 

Regardless of demands for longer ranges, a complete redesign of the 
mortar was necessary by 1944. By this time both the MlAl and M2 had 
been used extensively, particularly in mountainous regions where artillery 
found it difficult or impossible to operate. The terrain in which mortars 
operated in Italy and the Southwest Pacific was at times so rugged that 
standard mortar carts or jeeps could not be used, and the CWS had to 
devise a mule pack. 10 

8 (1) CWTC Item 1060, Military Requirements and Military Characteristics for Jet Accelerator 
Adapter, for 4.2-Inch Chemical Mortar, 7 Jul 44. (2) CWTC Item 1180, Cancellation of Military 
Requirements for Jet Accelerator Adapter for 4.2-Inch Chemical Mortar Shell, 26 Oct 44. 

9 (1) Gilbert C. Bowen, Tests of Various Methods of Obtaining Rotation of the 4.2-Inch 
Chemical Mortar Shell. OSRD 5694, Oct 45. (2) Gilbert C Bowen, C F. Curtiss, R. B. Kersh- 
ner, and Maj A. R. T. Denues, Extension of Range of the 4. 2 -Inch Chemical Mortar, M2. 
OSRD 5789, Jun 46. 

10 (1) CWTC Item 531, Standardization of 4.2-Inch Chemical Mortar and Ammunition Cart, 
4 Aug 42. (2) TB 3-320-5, Mule Pack M2, 13 May 44. (3) TM 3-320, Jun 45. 



4.2-Inch Chemical Mortar in action, Arundel Island, New Georgia, September 
1943. HE ammunition for the mortar is stacked at the right. 

This constant use of mortars took its toll in worn and damaged parts, 
much harm being caused by attempts to get more service out of the mor- 
tar than it had been designed to deliver. The CWS Technical Division 
set out to produce an entirely new mortar that would be free from the 
limitations inherent in the basic design of the M2 model which had been 
intended originally to fire a range of 2,400 yards. By the end of the war 
an experimental model, E37, had been constructed and test fired at 
Edgewood. After the war the service continued development until 1949 
when the War Department, feeling that the mortar was now a legitimate 
weapon of the infantry, transferred the responsibility for development to 
the Ordnance Department. The Ordnance Department made a few final 
modifications and standardized the mortar as model M30 in 1951. 11 

American troops who saw the chemical mortar in action in the Pa- 
cific and in Europe had a high opinion of the weapon. German and 
Japanese troops respected its fire power and accuracy. Generalleutnant 

11 (1) Theodore R. Paulson, Development Summary of the E37R4 4.2-Inch Chemical Mortar. 
CWS 314.7 4.2-Inch Mortar R&D File. (2) Theodore R. Paulson, Development of E37 Chemical 
Mortar. DPGMR 32, Jul 47. (3) OCM 33579, 15 Feb 51. 



Ochsner of the chemical warfare branch of the German Army, stated that 
"from the technical point of view the American 4.2-inch chemical projector 
is very good; the construction is simple, it is a very handy weapon in 
battle and its firing efficiency is high." 12 

The German Army had two types of chemical mortars, the smaller 
with a caliber of 8 cm. (approximately 3.2 inches) and the larger of 10 
cm. (3.9 inches). The 8-cm. mortar was smoothbore, like the old Stokes, 
and was similar to the 81-mm. mortar issued by the Ordnance Department 
to American infantry. The complete weapon weighed 125 pounds, and 
had a range of from 450 yards to 1,300 yards. German mortar shells were 
pear shaped with fins fastened to the tail to stabilize their flight. The 10- 
cm. mortar was more complicated than either the 8-cm. or the American 
4.2-inch in that it was a breech-loading weapon with a hydropneumatic 
recoil mechanism. It was mounted on a two-wheel chassis and weighed 
approximately a ton, six times heavier than the 4.2-inch mortar. The heavy 
weight and the wheeled mount greatly restricted the mobility of the weapon, 
a distinct disadvantage in comparison to the easily transported 4.2-inch 
mortar. The maximum range was 6,800 yards. 13 

The principal Japanese ground weapon for the employment of chemi- 
cal munitions was the 90-mm. (3.5-inch) mortar. This was a smoothbore 
weapon that fired a dart shaped, fin tailed shell. Its total weight was 350 
pounds, slightly heavier than the 4.2-inch mortar, and its maximum range 
was about 4,200 yards. 14 

Mortars of Unusual Design 

While the 4. 2 -inch mortar was the workhorse of CWS troops during 
World War II, members of the technical staff experimented with other 
models. Following a suggestion of the Chemical Warfare Board in 1943 
that fewer mortars would be needed and targets could be changed more 
rapidly if the weapon could swing through a full circle, engineers began 
development of a special mortar with a traverse of 360°. They designed 
several models, one or more of which might ultimately have been satis- 
factory, but finally dropped the project when the AGF decided that a mortar 

12 Ochsner. History of German Chemical Warfare, pt. I. p. 33. 

13 (1) German Chemical Warfare, pp. 119-20. (2) German Chemical Warfare Materiel, 
pp. I-A-l, I-A-2. 

14 Enemy Capabilities for Chemical Warfare, pp. 92-96. 



with such an extreme traverse was unnecessary. Along with the 360° mor- 
tar the men experimented with a mortar of 90° traverse, but the weapon 
was not particularly successful, and the project ended with the war. 15 

To simplify the training of mortar squads the Chemical Warfare Board 
devised an ingenious subcaliber mortar consisting of a steel pipe that fitted 
inside the standard mortar barrel. The shell was fashioned of steel and 
wood and could be used over and over. The weapon was fired in the 
regular manner, and ranged from 115 to 400 yards. A small glass bottle 
of smoke solution could be fitted to the nose to give the appearance of a 
miniature explosion when the shell landed. Not the least of the merits of 
this subcaliber mortar was that it dropped the cost of firing a training 
round of ammunition from several dollars to thirteen cents. 16 

In 1943, at the suggestion of Col. William A. Borden, Ordnance De- 
partment, who had conducted a survey of munitions in the Pacific Islands, 
the CWS began to develop a mortar which could fire horizontally into 
low Japanese bunkers of coconut logs and earth. The standard mortar 
barrel could not be dropped below an angle of 45° with the horizon, and 
a way had to be found of holding the barrel level with the ground and 
at the same time neutralizing the tremendous recoil of a quarter of a mil- 
lion pounds. Engineers at the CWS Laboratories at Columbia University 
devised a method of leveling the mortar by a new baseplate that could 
be bolted or chained to the trunk of a tree. While this solved the recoil 
problem— as long as mortar companies fought in wooded areas— it did not 
end the development work. When a mortar fired on a flat trajectory, for 
which it had never been designed, unusual strains were set up in the 
weapon. These had to be overcome by redesigning certain components. 
Even the shell was modified and its weight increased. Tests proved that 
the new model would be satisfactory in the field, but the weapon was 
not carried beyond the experimental stage because a recoilless mortar, which 
the CWS had started to develop at almost the same time, offered a better 

15 (1) Ltr, CWB to CWTC, 10 Jan 43, sub: Modified "Armstrong" Baseplate and Mount for 
4.2-Inch Chemical Mortar. CWB 472.42/69. (2) CWTC Item 726, Military Requirement and 
Military Characteristics for 4.2-Inch Chemical Mortar with 360° Traverse, 11 Jun 43. (3) CWTC 
Item 1226, Cancellation of Military Requirements for 4.2 -Inch Chemical Mortar with 360° Trav- 
erse. (4) CWTC Item 997, Military Characteristics for 4. 2 -Inch Chemical Mortar, 5 May 44. 

1G (1) Chemical Warfare Board Project No. 279, Sub-Caliber Trainer for 4.2-Inch Chemical 
Mortar, 27 Sep 43. (2) CWTC Item 952, Standardization of Mortar, Sub-Caliber, 3-Inch, M3; 
Charge, Smoke, 3-Inch Sub-Caliber Shell, Ml; and Charge, Propelling, 3-Inch Sub-Caliber Shell, 
M8, 17 Mar 44. (3) TB 3-320-2, Training Accessories for the 4.2-Inch Chemical Mortar, 29 
Feb 44. 


possibility of solving the multitude of problems that accompanied the 
change from angular to horizontal firing. 17 

A recoilless gun was open at both ends instead of one end as in the 
conventional gun. When the propellant charge exploded, the shell sped 
forward through the barrel while the gas blew backward through the breech. 
The gun, shell, and propellant were designed to make the forward action 
equal to the backward reaction, eliminating recoil. 

Recoilless weapons had been investigated by the American Army in 
World War I. In World War II the idea was revived by the Germans, 
the British, and then by the Ordnance Department. When the CWS be- 
gan development of a horizontal mortar, it realized that the principle in- 
volved in a recoilless gun might be applied, and in October 1943 General 
Kabrich asked Dr. C. N. Hickman, Chief of Section H, Division 3, NDRC, 
to undertake the development of a mortar having no recoil. 18 That same 
month the first recoilless attachment to fit on the breech of the standard 
mortar barrel was designed, and in November firing trials were started. 
Step by step the ignition system, firing mechanism, reaction chamber, and 
shell were perfected. The shell was fired in an unusual manner. A small 
rocket, called a rocket driver by the designers, was attached to the fuze. 
When the mortar was fired the rocket driver hurled the shell back into 
the barrel where it struck the firing pin. The firing pin then detonated 
the propellant charge and started the shell forward. The rocket driver fell 
off while the shell was in the air, exposing the fuze. 

By August 1944 the model was ready for a full-scale demonstration at 
Edgewood. Service officers were so impressed that they ordered the gun 
completed under top priority. The final, standard model consisted of a 
two-piece barrel mounted on a caliber .30 machine gun tripod. Targets 
3,800 yards away could be hit, but accuracy was best below 1,000 yards. 
The 28-pound HE shell easily demolished replica Japanese bunkers of earth 
and logs. 19 

17 (1) Col Borden's suggestion is cited in Ltr, Brig Gen W. C. Kabrich, C, Tech Div, OC 
CWS to Dr. C N. Hickman, C, Sec H, Div 3, NDRC, 8 Nov 43. SPCVD 472.4 GWU. Reprinted 
as App, A, OSRD 5791. (2) Baum, Columbia University Chemical Warfare Laboratories. (3) Lt 
Milton Stern, Lt L. L. Smith, and Charles T. Mitchell, Experiments with Horizontal Firing of 4.2- 
Inch Mortar for Jungle Use. TDMR 1029, 10 May 45. 

18 (1) Ltr, Kabrich to Hickman, 8 Nov 43. (2) Green, Thomson, and Roots, Planning Muni- 
tions for War, pp. 328-31. (3) Interv, Hist Off with Wendell H. Kayser, 4 Feb 57. 

19 (1) R. B. Kershner, Maj A. R. T. Denues, J. M. Woods, S. Golden, J. Levin, and Capt 
F. Culp, Recoilless 4.2-Inch Chemical Mortars. OSRD 5791, Apr 46. (2) CWTC Item 1384, 
Standardization of Mortar, Chemical, 4.2-Inch, Recoilless, M4, 2 Aug 45. (3) TB CW 24, 4.2- 
Inch Recoilless Chemical Mortar, E34R1, 21 Dec 44. 



The CWS contracted for the manufacture of 1,000 recoilless mortars, 
100 of the weapons being completed before the end of the war. Recoilless 
mortars reached the Tenth Army in the Pacific theater in time for the 
Okinawa campaign, but otherwise they were produced too late for battle 
use. 20 

Mortar Shells 

The 4.2-inch mortar shell with fuze weighed 18 pounds, and held ap- 
proximately 7 pounds of chemical agent. At the beginning of the war 
the authorized toxic fillings were mustard, lewisite, phosgene, CNB (a so- 
lution of chloroacetophenone in benzene and carbon tetrachloride), and 
CNS (a solution of chloroacetophenone and chloropicrin in chloroform). 
Later cyanogen chloride was added. Some measure of the service's opinion 
of the relative value of different toxic agents for gas shoots may be gauged 
from the number of shells filled with various agents from 1940 to 1946: 
540,746 contained mustard; 49,402, phosgene; 41,353, CNS; 12,957, CNB; 
and 175, lewisite. 21 

The German Army came close to the American Army in its stockpile 
of mustard filled shells, some 400,000 10-cm. mustard-arsenol shells com- 
ing to light after the war. No other chemical mortar shells were found. 
They either may have decided that other fillings were not satisfactory or 
else they were not able to put other shells into production. 22 

The Japanese had a variety of toxic filled munitions for use with their 
90-mm. mortar. One type of shell held a half pound of diphenylcyano- 
arsine, a vomiting agent, and a pound of TNT. The TNT scattered the 
agent in aerosol form besides acting as a high explosive. Another shell 
held two pounds of blistering agent, generally a fifty-fifty mixture of 
lewisite and mustard. Shells containing hydrogen cyanide were also re- 
ported among Japanese supplies. 23 

American mortar shells held more agent than either Japanese or Ger- 
man shells. They contained from 6.25 to 7.56 pounds of chemical, depending 

20 (1) CWTC Item 1785, Obsoletioti of the Mortar, Chemical, 4.2-Inch Recoilless, M4, and 
the Shell, 4. 2 -Inch Recoilless Chemical Mortar, M6, with Cancellation of Related Military Re- 
quirements and Development Type Items, 2 5 Sep 47. (2) Roy E. Appleman, James M, Burns, 
Russell A. Gugeler, and John Stevens, Okinawa: The Last Battle, UNITED STATES ARMY IN 
WORLD WAR II (Washington, 1948), p. 38. 

21 Crawford, Cook, and Whiting, Statistics, "Procurement," p. 21. The phosgene shells include 
2,000 containing 10 percent nitrogen dioxide, a red gas for spotting purposes. 

22 German Chemical Warfare, pp. 128-31. 

23 (1) CW Intell Bull No. 49, pt. I. (2) Enemy Capabilities for Chemical Warfare, pp. 92-96. 



upon the physical characteristics of the chemicals. Thus the total weight 
of filled shells varied from 24 to 26 pounds. In terms of percentage, the 
agent comprised from 26 percent to 30 percent of the shell. In contrast, 
German 10-cm. mustard- arsenol shells weighing 15 pounds held 3 pounds, 
or 20 percent, of agent; and Japanese 90-mm. shells weighing 12 pounds 
held 2 pounds (17 percent) of vesicant agent, or 0.5 pound (4 percent) 
of vomiting agent. Shell for shell, the 4.2-inch mortar could have laid 
down a heavier concentration of gas on an area than the enemy mortars. 24 

The possibility that chemicals would be used during the war was the 
reason for the mortar's presence among CWS troops; yet chemical shells, 
with the exception of smoke shells, were never fired. It was the HE shell 
which gained for the mortar the high regard of infantrymen. When the 
CWS received permission to use HE, munitions experts modified the stand- 
ard shell slightly, removed the vanes and burster tube, and then loaded 
the missile with TNT. An HE shell, with fuze, weighed twenty-two pounds, 
and the explosive charge weighed eight. This quantity of TNT, approxi- 
mately one-third of the weight of the filled shell, represented a high load- 
ing efficiency, and the blast and fragmentation effect of the shell upon 
impact was tremendous. In September 1942, the CWS standardized this 
shell as model M3. 25 

During the course of development work the CWS Technical Com- 
mand produced several experimental mortar shells, one of which, a high 
explosive fragmentation shell with good flight characteristics and ballistic 
properties, was superior to the M3 shell in demolishing Japanese-type pill- 
boxes. The shell wall was twice as thick as that of the standard HE shell, 
while the filling of TNT was a bit less, 6.6 pounds. In November 1943 
a CWS representative returning from the Southwest Pacific Area reported 
that such a shell was needed immediately. The CWS designated the new 
shell as model M4 and ordered a large supply. 26 

In the spring of 1944 the Field Artillery Board compared the new M4 
with the older M3 in a series of tests against targets in shelter trenches 
and open fields. In percussion, ricochet and low-angle time fire, shell frag- 
ments from the M3 scored more hits than fragments from the M4. In 

24 (1) TM 3-320. (2) German Chemical Warfare Materiel, I-C-l. (3) CW Intell Bull No. 
49, pt. I. 

25 (1) CWTC Item 530, Standardization of High Explosive 4.2-Inch Chemical Mortar Shell, 
4 Aug 42. (2) CWTC Item 571, same title, 29 Sep 42. 

26 ( 1 ) Theodore R. Paulson, Milton Stern, and L. L. Smith, Tests of Experimental Shell for 
4,2-Inch C. M. TDMR 1075, 23 Aug 45. (2) CWTC Item 869, Standardization of Shell, HE, 
32-lb, 4.2-Inch Chemical Mortar, M4, 3 Dec 43. 



high-angle time fire both projectiles produced about the same number of 
hits. As a result of these tests the CWS halted the production of the new 
shells, and thereafter used them only when there was a shortage of the 
M3 shell. 27 About 67,000 new M4 shells were manufactured, in compari- 
son with the more than 6,400,000 of the M3 type. 28 

Smoke shells made up a large fraction of the service's output of mor- 
tar ammunition. Authorized smoke fillings included white phosphorus 
(WP), a solution of sulphur trioxide in chlorosulfonic acid (FS), and ti- 
tanium tetrachloride. "The American white phosphorus ammunition was 
outstandingly good/' wrote Generalleutnant Ochsner, after the war. 29 
These shells threw up a large volume of dense white smoke that was use- 
ful as a marker or as a smoke screen. Burning chunks of phosphorus fly- 
ing through the air frightened enemy soldiers. Phosphorus could ignite 
dry underbrush, hay, paper, and other combustibles, and thereby serve as 
an incendiary. And finally the agent could cause casualties among enemy 
troops by inflicting burns. Mortar squads fired quantities of WP second 
in volume only to HE. Over three million WP shells came from filling 
plants in the United States, more than all other mortar shells — excluding 
HE— combined. In comparison, the service procured only one-third of a 
million FS smoke shells, and none containing titanium tetrachloride. 30 

The German Army would have been happy to have had the same plenti- 
ful supply of WP as the American Army, but Germany lacked the raw 
materials for producing phosphorus, and its army had to depend on in- 
ferior Berger mixture or on sulphur trioxide. 31 

In addition to chemical, HE, and smoke shells, the CWS developed 
other types of mortar ammunition for special purposes. In 1943, the Chemi- 
cal Warfare Board suggested that an incendiary shell might be useful in 
driving enemy soldiers from wooded positions or combustible buildings. 
After a preliminary study the question arose as to whether such a shell 
would be worth the time spent on it. The CWS canvassed chemical of- 
ficers in the various theaters and found only one who thought that the 
shell might be useful. As a result of this survey the project was dropped. 
But in the spring of 1944 the service revived the idea when the European 
theater showed interest in an incendiary shell. Munitions engineers at CWS 

27 (1) CWTC Item 1011, Reclassification of Shell, HE, 32-lb, 4.2-Inch Chemical Mortar, M4, 
5 May 44. (2) CWTC Item 1070, same title, 7 Jul 44. 

28 Crawford, Cook, and Whiting, Statistics, "Procurement," p. 21. 

29 Ochsner, History of German Chemical Warfare in World War II, p. 33. 

30 Crawford, Cook, and Whiting, Statistics, ''Procurement," p. 21. 

31 Oschner, History of German Chemical Warfare in World War II, p. 33. 


designed a base ejection shell holding four hollow magnesium incendiary 
cylinders filled with thermite mixture. The shell acted like a small mortar. 
As it struck the target an explosive charge in the nose blew the burning 
cylinders backward through the tail, and the magnesium in turn, set fires 
in the target area. This shell was just being perfected as the war ended. 32 

In March 1944 the Commanding General, Central Pacific Area, re- 
quested an illuminating shell. The CWS had had no experience with this 
type of projectile, but both the Ordnance Department and the Navy had 
shells which, upon bursting, released a flare fastened to a parachute. Serv- 
ice engineers modified the Navy flare to fit the mortar shell, following 
the standard naval practice in mixing and loading flare compositions. They 
produced experimental shells that functioned perfectly, but these came too 
late in the war for standardization. 33 

In May 1944 the Commanding General, South Pacific Area, asked for 
colored smoke mortar shells. Chemists developed mixtures containing dyes 
that produced red, yellow, green, and violet smokes. With a fuze set for 
an air burst, shells containing these smokes erupted a colored cloud visi- 
ble for some miles and lasting for several minutes in calm weather. Colored 
smoke shells were recommended for standardization shortly before the end 
of the war. 34 

Starting with one basic type of shell in 1942, the CWS evolved a va- 
riety of shells for the 4.2-inch mortar. Only three of these, HE, white 
phosphorus, and FS smoke, were employed in battle, but their effective- 
ness led Generalleutnant Oschner to say, in speaking of the American 
mortar, that rt the various types of ammunition used with it are excellent." 35 

Mortar Gunboats 

The CWS in 1942 experimented with mortars mounted on landing 
craft, including the LCI's and the LCT's. It took the view that mortars 

S2 (1) CWTC Icem 1326, Military Requirement and Military Characteristics for Incendiary, 
4.2-Inch Chemical Mortar Shell, 24 May 45. (2) Alfred E. Gaul and Leo Finkelstein, Incendiaries, 
vol. 18, 31 Jan 52, in monograph series, History of Research and Development of the CWS 
(1 July 1940-31 December 1945), pp. 665-75. 

33 (1) Cape T. A. Ruble, 4.2-Inch Chemical Mortar Shell, Illuminating, E 71. TDMR 1030, 
16 May 45- (2) CWTC Item 1059, Military Requirement and Military Characteristics for 4.2- 
Inch Chemical Mortar Illuminating Shell, 7 Jul 44. 

54 (1) CWTC Item 105 2, Military Requirement and Military Characteristics for 4.2-Inch 
Chemical Mortar Colored Smoke Shell, 7 Jul 44. (2) Leo Finkelstein, Colored Smokes, vol. 12, 
1 May 48, monograph in series, History of Research and Development of the CWS ( 1 July 1940- 
31 December 1945), pp. 91-94. 

35 Oschner, History of German Chemical Warfare in World War II, p. 33. 



could support an amphibious assault in the crucial period of an invasion, 
after the naval and air bombardment let up so that troops might land. 
Mortars could not be placed directly on the bottom of landing craft, since 
there was no way to keep the recoil from kicking mortars backward when 
the piece was fired. In addition, the terrific pounding might damage the 
bottom of the vessel. 

Technicians rigged an oblong wooden frame, filled with a mixture of 
sand and sawdust, on the floor of the craft. A thick slab of wood, grooved 
to take the bottom of the baseplate, sat on top of the sand-sawdust fill- 
ing. This served as an artificial land emplacement for the mortar. The 
Amphibious Training Command, Carrabelle, Fla,, to which the CWS sent 
the firing platform, saw the utility of the device and asked the service to 
design a standard model. 36 

In July 1943 a chemical mortar battalion with weapons mounted in 
landing craft took part in the seaborne assault on Sicily. The battalion 
was ready to fire from its offshore positions, but the need did not arise. 
Mortar gunboats first saw action in the Pacific, where amphibious warfare 
was more common. On 15 September 1944, 4.2-inch mortars mounted on 
landing craft, infantry (LCI), supported the 1st Marine Division in its 
assault on Peleliu. 37 Two days later at Angaur Island, mortar gunboats 
fired on the beach area as troops of the 81st Division swarmed ashore. 
Offshore LCI's afterwards lobbed mortar shells into Angaur to support in- 
fantry attacks. 38 

On D-day at Iwo Jima, the heavy gunfire-support ships of the invad- 
ing force were augmented by 18 LCI's armed with 4.2-inch mortars. During 
the night of 20-21 February LCI's with mortars delivered counterbattery 
and harassing fires in supporting the V Amphibious Corps. Since LCI's 
had no radar and only inadequate navigating gear, they followed the in- 
genious plan of steaming in an elliptical track around a reference ship 
that kept station by radar, firing during the time they were on the path 
of the ellipse and headed toward the island. 39 On Easter Sunday, April 1945, 

36 (1) Robert W. Elton and Lt Donald W. Gerlitz, 4.2-Inch Emplacement for Landing Craft, 
Vehicular. TDMR 640, 7 May 43. (2) TB 3-320-1, 4.2-Inch Chemical Mortar Mount LC, E2R2, 
27 Jan 44. 

37 See Paul W. Pritc hard, Brooks E. Kleber, and Dale Birdsell, The Chemical Warfare Service: 
IChemicals in Combat] a volume in preparation for the series, UNITED STATES ARMY IN 

:,s Robert Ross Smith, The Approach to the Philippines, UNITED STATES ARMY IN 
WORLD WAR II (Washington. 1953), pp. 500, 519. 

3fl Lt Col Whitman S. Barriey, Iwo Jtma: Amphibious Epic, Marine Corps Monograph (Wash- 
ington, 1954), pp. 49, 83-84. 


Mortar Gunboat. Crew preparing to fire one of the 4.2-inch chemical mortars 
mounted on the deck of an LCT, 

forty-two mortar gunboats were among craft that led the way to the land- 
ing beach at Okinawa. One hundred and twenty-six mortars laid down 
28,000 shells over a strip five and one-half miles long and one thousand 
feet deep in less than an hour. 40 All in all, LCI(M) ? s (the M for mortar), 
as the mortar mounted craft came to be designated, participated in a dozen 
landings in the Pacific during the latter part of 1944 and the war months 
of 1945. 41 

40 Appleman, et aL, Okinawa, p. 70. (2) The Chemical Warfare Service in World War II, p. 150. 

41 (1) Maj. R. H. Skinner, "Famed 4.2 Rides Waves," Armed Forces Chemical Journal I 
(October 46), 44-45. (2) "The 4.2 Goes to Sea," Chemical Warfare Bulletin 31 (Jan-Feb 45), 
(3) Chemical Warfare Service in World War II, pp. 148-50. 


Flame Throwers 

Portable Flame Throwers 

On 8 December 1942 near Buna Village, Papua, Corp. Wilbur G. Tir- 
rell crawled through the underbrush to a spot some thirty feet from a 
Japanese emplacement. He stepped into the open and fired his flame 
thrower. The flaming oil dribbled fifteen feet or so, setting the grass on 
fire. Again and again Corporal Tirrell tried to reach the bunker, but the 
flame would not carry. Finally a Japanese bullet glanced off his helmet, 
knocking him unconscious. This was the first time an American flame 
thrower had ever been used in combat. It failed so miserably that Col. 
William A. Copthorne, Chief Chemical Officer, USAFFE, believed that 
infantrymen would never want to use flame throwers again. Yet the weapon 
had distinct advantages, and before the war was over the armed forces 
had first-rate models. 1 

Flame throwers were introduced by the German Army in 1915, and 
then adopted by other European armies. Americans, using European weap- 
ons as models, began to develop flame throwers in 1917, but the armistice 
was reached before they were completed. The American Expeditionary 
Forces was not enthusiastic about the flame thrower— General Fries called 
it "one of the greatest failures among the many promising devices tried 
out on a large scale in the war"— and after the conflict the Chemical War- 
fare Service dropped the weapon completely. 2 So it was that in July 1940 

1 (1) Samuel Milner, Victory in Papua, UNITED STATES ARMY IN WORLD WAR II 
(Washington, 1957), p. 250. (2) Lt Col Leonard L. McKinney, Portable Flame Thrower Opera- 
tions in World War II, Chemical Corps Historical Studies No. 4, 1 Dec 49, p. 58. 

3 Fries and West, Chemical Warfare, pp. 352, 401. 



when the Corps of Engineers asked the CWS for a portable flame thrower 
the service had to go back to the beginning and start all over again. 3 

The Kincaid Co. of New York manufactured a few of the first ex- 
perimental models, designated as El, in the autumn of 1940. This and all 
subsequent models consisted of four main components: a storage system 
for fuel, a storage system for compressed gas, a flame gun, and an igniter. 
Each was an indispensable component and each required considerable de- 
velopment. The first fuel tank was a vertical cylinder having two com- 
partments, the upper holding nitrogen under pressure and the low£r 
containing five gallons of fuel— at that time diesel oil, fuel oil, or a blend 
of gasoline and oil. The filled weapon weighed seventy pounds. The fuel 
oil flowed through a flexible tube into the flame gun. The gun was a metal 
barrel to which was fastened an igniter consisting of a battery and a cyl- 
inder filled with compressed hydrogen. The gun had two triggers, one to 
release the fuel and the other for ignition as it issued from the nozzle. 
When the weapon was fired, compressed nitrogen blew the oil through 
the hose and gun at the rate of one-half gallon per second. At the nozzle 
an electric spark from the battery lit a small jet of hydrogen, which in 
turn set aflame the oil. The stream of burning oil had a range of four- 
teen to twenty-one yards. 4 

The Engineer Board tested the weapon and decided it was not ready 
for military operations. The combination fuel-compressed gas reservoir 
was impractical, a bend in the gun barrel made the flame thrower difficult 
to fire from a prone position, the gas pressure dropped steadily while the 
weapon was being fired, decreasing the range. The entire apparatus was 
cumbersome, heavy, and undependable. The CWS redesigned the flame 
thrower, and contracted with the Kincaid Co. for a better model, ElRl, 
which reached Edgewood in March 1941. Now the fuel and compressed 
nitrogen were stored in separate reservoirs, a feature retained in all future 

3 (1) The flame throwers developed in 1917-18 are described in: (a) Arthur B. Ray, In- 
cendiaries, Chemical Warfare Monograph, vol, 43, May 1919, pt. II, pp. 186-201; (b) Fries and 
West, Chemical Warfare, pp. 347-52. (2) Ltr, C Engr to TAG, 24 Jul 40, sub: Flame Thrower 
for Individual Use, with inds. This letter is reprinted in CWTC Item 221, 10 Sep 40. 

x ( 1) The range of the flame thrower cannot be stated exactly because it varied with the com- 
position of the fuel, the pressure of the gas, and with the individual weapon. The figures given 
in this chapter are average, not the maximum obtained under ideal conditions. (2) The El and all 
other flame throwers, as well as the basic scientific factors involved, are discussed in Leo Finkel- 
stein, Flame Throwers, vol. 15, 1 May 49, in monograph series History of Research and Develop- 
ment of the Chemical Warfare Service in World War II. (3) A resume of the work done by the 
CWS may be found in Report of Activities of the Technical Division During World War II ( 1 Jan 
46), pp. 136-49- 



Operator Firing a Portable Flame Thrower ElRl at a concrete fortification 
during a test of the weapon. 

models. The gun, the ignition system, and the valves were all improved. 
The weapon weighed 28 pounds empty and 57 pounds loaded. 5 

The ElRl was far from perfect—parts were easily broken, valves were 
hard to reach unless the operator was a contortionist, and the weapon 
made an uncomfortably heavy load on the operator's back— but the weapon 
held a range of 15 to 20 yards for 15 to 20 seconds and on the whole 
seemed suitable for use in special situations. Since the few that had been 
produced for the purpose of testing were the only practical American flame 
throwers in existence, the Army issued them to troops in training camps. 
Some troops actually carried these crude weapons overseas to the Pacific 
Islands and employed them in battle. Corporal Tirrell's assault on a Japa- 
nese bunker was made with one of these, an ElRl. 

The CWS in the meantime had been rushing an improved version of 
the ElRl through final development. Suggestions from test boards had 
led to a slightly heavier, more rugged, longer range model standardized 

s The Report of che Engineer Board is quoted in Capt. L. W. Russem, Theodore Loew, and 
C. T. Mitchell, Development of che Portable Flame Thrower Ml, M1A1, and M2-2. TDMR 
1069, 19 Jun 45, p. 6. (2) Service Tests of Portable Flame Thrower EB 109, Report of the Engi- 
neer Board, Report No. 621, 16 May 41. (3) Report on Service Tests of Portable Flame Thrower 
ElRl, Report of the Infantry Board No. 1225, 20 Jun 41. 



as Ml. In March 1942 the weapons began coming off production lines, 
some reaching the South Pacific Area by the end of the year. 

The new flame thrower was employed for the first time on 15 Janu- 
ary 1943 by marines and infantrymen on Guadalcanal. An infantry attack 
against a stubborn enemy pocket holding up the advance of the 2d Bat- 
talion, 35th Infantry, did not succeed. But Marine engineers burned out 
three Japanese bunkers in a ravine, and thus helped rout enemy troops 
holding up a Marine advance. 6 

At that time the flame thrower was unfamiliar to the Army. Since 
most troops had never seen one before, they did not know what it could 
do. After its success on Guadalcanal the word spread around, and in later 
engagements in the Pacific, from New Guinea to the Ryukyus, foot sol- 
diers always kept the flame thrower in mind when they had to overcome 
a stoutly defended Japanese position. This is not to say that the Ml was 
a perfect, reliable weapon. One specimen, just received from the States, 
might function properly and spurt a jet of flame the customary fifteen 
yards, but its twin might eject a harmless stream of nonburning oil a dis- 
tance of five yards. Batteries in the ignition circuit deteriorated rapidly in 
the hot, humid, climate; inadequate waterproofing allowed moisture to cor- 
rode parts and to short-circuit the electrical system; and minute rust holes 
in tanks allowed compressed gas to escape and the pressure to drop. 
Chemical maintenance companies had their hands full inspecting, testing, 
repairing, and servicing flame throwers to keep them in proper working 
order for the troops. 

The weapon that replaced the Ml came about as a result of the in- 
vention of napalm, developed originally to thicken gasoline fillings in in- 
cendiary bombs. 7 The CWS tested thickened gasoline in flame throwers 
and found that the range was greater than with ordinary gasoline. Fur- 
thermore, ordinary gasoline broke into a spray after it left the nozzle of 
the flame gun and burned itself out in a billow of fire while thickened 
fuel flew through the air in a compact stream that would ricochet into 
portholes and stick to flat surfaces. 

Unfortunately, the Ml flame thrower could not get the greatest range 
out of the new thickened gasoline, for it was like running a 1910 model 
automobile on modern premium fuel. In August 1942 Col. William C. 

9 (1) McKinney, Portable Flame Thrower Operations, pp. 39-40. (2) John Miller, jr., 
Guadalcanal: The First Offensive, UNITED STATES ARMY IN WORLD WAR II (Washing- 
to n 1949), pp. 2 79, 295. (3) Pritchard, Kleber, and Birdsell, Chemicals in Combat. 

7 See p. 169. 



Kabrich, chief of the CWS Technical Division, appointed a joint CWS- 
NDRC committee to modify the weapon. To keep from upsetting the 
procurement program, Colonel Kabrich asked the committee to make the 
changes in the Ml as few and as simple as possible. The committee 
modified the fuel system, pressure regulator, valves, and flame gun to per- 
mit the higher operating pressure necessary to obtain the maximum range 
with napalm, and at the same time improved the waterproofing. 8 The 
CWS-MIT Laboratory tested napalm-gasoline mixtures to find the one 
giving the greatest range. 9 

The new flame thrower, MlAl, could expel thick fuel two or three 
times as far as the old model. In aiming at the port of a pillbox fifty 
yards away it could place half of the thickened fuel inside the structure. 
The old model could not reach a pillbox fifty yards away, and could place 
only about 10 percent of its charge in a pillbox twenty yards away. The 
improved electrical system was still not entirely reliable, but on the whole 
the new weapon was so superior to the Ml that the CWS decided to 
produce and issue it immediately. 

Initial shipments of the fourteen thousand MlAl flame throwers man- 
ufactured during World War II arrived in the Mediterranean theater in 
June 1943, the South Pacific Area in July, and the Southwest Pacific Area 
in August. 10 This model gave good service throughout the war, but occa- 
sionally the electrical ignition system failed. When this happened the 
troops dropped the weapon or else lit it by some other means. In the 
landing on Leyte, 20 October 1944, a flame thrower failed to ignite when 
the operator fired it at a pillbox. Nearby Pfc. Frank B. Robinson, 19th 
Infantry, threw a handful of burning paper in front of the pillbox. The 
operator ignited the fuel by firing it through the flames from the paper. 11 
In an action at Azeville, France, 9 June 1944, Pvt. Ralph G. Riley ran up 
to a German blockhouse with his flame thrower, only to find that the 
ignition system would not work. He held a match near the nozzle and 
ignited the stream of fuel. Ammunition exploded inside of the fortifica- 

8 Fire Warfare: Incendiaries and Flame Throwers (Washington, 1946), p. 96. This is Volume 
3 Summary Technical Report of Division 11, NDRC. (2) A resume of the work done by the 
NDRC on flame throwers may be found in Fire Warfare; Noyes, Chemistry, pp. 420-30; James 
Phinney Baxter, 3d, Scientists Against Time (Boston: Little, Brown, and Company, 1946), 294-97. 

9 Hemleben, CWS-MIT Laboratory, pp. 54-68. 

10 McKinney, Portable Flame Thrower Operations, pp. 14, 182. 

u M. Hamlin Cannon, Leyte; The Return to the Philippines, UNITED STATES ARMY IN 
WORLD WAR II (Washington, 1954), p. 69. 



Attacking a Japanese Bunker with an Ml A 1 portable flame thrower, Bougain- 
ville, March 1944. 

tion, the garrison of 169 men surrendered, and Private Riley received the 
Silver Star. 12 

The final portable flame thrower appeared in 1944. In developing this 
weapon the Chemical Warfare Service and the National Defense Research 
Committee set out on different roads to find the best method of ignition, 
and to design a more rugged, comfortable, dependable weapon. The 
NDRC contractor, Standard Oil Development Co., produced a model 
known as the E2. This featured a long-life battery, waterproof electrical 
system, lightweight aluminum fuel tank, and gasoline ignition system. 
The CWS turned out a weapon, E3, with a streamlined gun, improved 
valves, a comfortable pack similar to the standard Quartermaster pack- 
board used for carrying mortar shells and other ammunition, and a car- 
tridge type of ignition. The latter was similar to a revolver. It held six 
cartridges, each filled with a pyrotechnic mixture. When the operator 
pressed the trigger a shower of sparks erupted from the cartridge and ig- 

12 Gordon A. Harrison, Cross-Channel Attack, UNITED STATES ARMY IN WORLD WAR 
II (Washington, 1951), p. 390. 



Firing an M2-2 Portable Flame Thrower into a wall opening, Manila, 
Luzon, February 1943. 

nited the fuel Six cartridges allowed the operator to fire up to six 
bursts. 13 

In comparative tests the CWS and NDRC models showed approxi- 
mately the same range, sixty yards with thickened fuel and one-third of 
this with ordinary fuel. The former model was slightly heavier and held 
less fuel than the latter. The Army preferred the rugged CWS model with 
pyrotechnic ignition to the light NDRC model with electrical ignition, 
and adopted it as the standard model, M2-2 in March 1944. 14 

American troops first employed the M2-2 in the Guam operation in 
July 1944. Manufacturers turned out more of this model than all earlier 
models combined— almost 25,000 as compared with 14,000— but production 
difficulties slowed down the issue of flame throwers to theaters of opera- 
tion. March 1945 arrived betore divisions in Italy received the weapon, 

13 Development of Portable Flame Thrower, E2. OSRD No. 3574, 4 May 44. 

14 ( 1) In the new method of multiple designation used here, the first "2" referred to che gas 
and fuel reservoirs, the second "2" to the flame gun. (2) CWTC Item 935, Standardization of 
Flame Thrower, Portable, M2-2, Kit, Service, for Portable Flame Thrower, M2-2, and Cylinder, 
Ignition, Portable Flame Thrower, 17 Mar 44. 



and some troops in the Pacific fought their last engagements of the war 
using the old MlAl. 15 

Although the M2-2 was better than its predecessor, it was not entirely 
satisfactory. It was too heavy, it did not hold enough fuel, and the fuel 
tanks were uncomfortable on the backs of the operators when the weapon 
had to be carried a considerable distance. It was, however, the most reli- 
able flame thrower designed by any army up to that time. The CWS 
technicians continued to develop a light, large capacity weapon, but they 
did not reach their goal during the war. 

The German Army, as the American, had portable-type flame throwers. 
The model in general use was Flammenwerfer 41. The fuel pack consisted 
of two steel cylinders, one containing approximately two gallons of fuel 
oil, and the other holding compressed nitrogen. A metal braided hose ran 
from the fuel pack to the flame gun. The original ignition system was 
similar in operation to the early CWS models; that is, an electrical spark 
from a small battery ignited a tiny jet of hydrogen. The Germans, too, 
had difficulty with this system and switched to a pyrotechnic cartridge. 
The filled flame thrower weighed approximately forty pounds, and expelled 
a jet of fuel from twenty-five to thirty-five yards. 1(i 

Japanese troops on occasion used flame throwers. Americans first faced 
them on Bataan in early February 1942, and shortly thereafter American 
soldiers captured two. The CWS laboratory staff at Fort Mills tested one 
flame thrower, and sent the ignition system to Edgewood where it was 
examined for usable features. 17 

Fuel packs on Japanese flame throwers were similar to the American 
type. Two cylindrical tanks held a mixture of oil and gasoline, while a 
small tank contained compressed nitrogen. A rubber hose connected the 
fuel pack and the flame gun. The ignition mechanism was a revolving 
cylinder holding ten pyrotechnic cartridges. Japanese weapons were lighter 
and held slightly less fuel than the American models. The range was 
somewhat more than the ElRl, Ml, and MlAl models, but less than 
Model M2-2. 

The Japanese flame throwers were well made. Colonel Hamilton, chem- 

15 (1) McKinney, Portable Flame Thrower Operations, pp. 190, 227. (2) Crawford, Cook, 
and Whiting, Statistics, "Procurement," p. 24. 

16 (1) German Chemical Warfare, World War II, p. 141. (2) WD Intel Bull, Apr 44, 
pp. 22-28. 

17 Hamilton, Activities Chemical Warfare Service, Philippine Islands, World War II, 22 Nov 
46, sec. B, pp. 21-30. 



American and German Portable Flame Throwers. U.S. flame thrower 
M2-2, left; German 1942 model, right. 

ical officer in the Philippines, stated his opinion in early 1942 that the 
"United States principle and basis of flame thrower research and develop- 
ment is somewhat inferior and less practical than the Japanese principle." 18 
The Japanese weapon was of course not foolproof The ignition cartridges 
were susceptible to moisture, and at times would not throw off a shower 
of sparks. In many instances in the Pacific Islands American tanks and 
troops who were fired on escaped with only a harmless shower of oil. 

The One-Shot Flame Throwers 

One disadvantage of the portable flame thrower was its weight, about 
70 pounds including fuel. In December 1942 the chemical officer, Fifth 
Army, recommended the development of a single-shot flame thrower light 
enough for a man to carry long distances, and inexpensive enough to be 
discarded after firing. In addition to its light weight and low cost 

18 Ltr, Col Stuart A. Hamilton, USFIP, to C CWS, sub: Status of Improvised Flame Thrower, 
Philippine Islands, 16 Apr 42. Copy in Activities Chemical Warfare Service, Philippine Islands, 
World War II, sec. A, p. 64. 



the weapon could be shipped from the United States ready for use, thus 
saving the time of maintenance crews. 19 

The first crude model was cylindrical in shape, thirty-four inches long, 
and five inches in diameter. Inside at the butt end was a pressure bottle 
taken from a carbon dioxide fire extinguisher to provide gas for expelling 
the fuel. Seated against the pressure bottle was a piston. Between the pis- 
ton and the nozzle were two gallons of fuel. The weapon was simple to 
operate. The soldier held it tightly against his body as he might the 
nozzle of a fire hose, and then pulled the firing pin. This released a steel 
spike which pierced the gas bottle. Escaping carbon dioxide pushed the 
piston forward, squirting the fuel out through the nozzle. A railroad fusee 
ignited the charge. The effective range of the flame thrower was about 
thirty yards. 20 

The Army was at first not particularly interested in the one-shot flame 
thrower and CWS engineers worked on the device only when they could 
spare time from other jobs. After the portable model proved valuable in 
jungle fighting, the service hastened development of the one-shot. The 
NDRC assisted by letting a contract with the Firestone Tire and Rubber 
Co. Firestone in the summer of 1944 designed a model containing com- 
pressed gas stored in a long, steel tube coiled around the outside. The 
maximum effective range was forty yards, the weapon emptying in four 
seconds. 21 

A new method of propelling fuel had meanwhile been suggested— gas 
from a combustible powder. Powder would eliminate carbon dioxide coils, 
it would simplify charging the weapon, and it would ease the problem of 
supply. The NDRC produced a model in which powder gave off gas at a 
pressure of 1,000 pounds per square inch. This pressure was great enough 
to shoot unthickened gasoline twenty-five yards. When the war ended the 
one-shot had reached the stage where the CWS was ready to produce some 
for battle testing. 22 

The American Army was not alone in seeking a light flame thrower. 
Toward the end of the war the German Army produced Einstossflammen- 
werfer 46 f a single-shot close combat weapon for assault troops and para- 
troopers. The barrel was two feet long and three inches in diameter. It 
was lighter than the CWS weapon— it weighed only six pounds filled— 

19 McKinney, Portable Flame Thrower Operations, p. 190. 

20 T. Loew, Development of One-Shot Flame Thrower, El 5. TCIR 215, 15 Nov 44. 

21 Flame Thrower, Portable, One-Shot, E15. TB CW 28, 28 Mar 45. 

2 ' 2 (1) Fire Warfare, pp. 101-02. (2) The Status of ABL Projects as of VJ-day. OSRD 5932, 
3 Sep 45. 



but in reducing the weight the designers reduced the fuel capacity to one 
and one-half quarts. The pressure to expel the fuel was provided by gas 
from an exploding cartridge. The range averaged thirty yards. Germany 
seems to have been alone among the enemy countries in producing a one- 
shot flame thrower; neither Italy nor Japan had this type of weapon. 23 

Mediumweight Flame Throwers 

A disadvantage of the portable flame thrower was the limited capacity 
of its fuel tanks. During battle they often ran dry, leaving operators with 
the choice of going to the rear for more fuel or abandoning the weapons. 
To get around this objection the CWS attempted to increase the capacity. 

For the use of Engineer troops in assault operations, the CWS devel- 
oped a two-man flame thrower. With the exception of the fuel tanks, 
pressure tank, and minor parts, the design was the same as for the Ml 
portable. The fuel tanks held twenty-two gallons of fuel, and were fas- 
tened on a two-wheeled frame. One operator grasped the handles of the 
frame and pushed it along like a wheelbarrow, while the other operator 
carried the flame gun. The fuel charge lasted about thirty seconds, and the 
range with a mixture of gasoline and oil was around twenty-five yards. 
The CWS did not produce this flame thrower because the Engineer Board 
considered it too bulky and heavy for troops. 24 

Another large weapon for assault and mopping-up operations was the 
cart-mounted flame thrower. The CWS took a fuel pressure unit de- 
signed for flame throwing tanks, mounted it on a chemical mortar cart 
and connected it to a portable flame thrower gun by means of two hun- 
dred feet of high pressure hose. The weapon, filled with twenty-five gal- 
lons of fuel, weighed more than six hundred pounds. Two men were 
needed to pull the cart— more if the terrain was rugged. One man 
remained at the cart while another dragged the flame gun to the firing 
point. In tests conducted by the Infantry Board the weapon proved effi- 
cient and reliable, but too heavy for foot troops in rough country. 25 

The CWS designed a manifold portable flame thrower especially for 
use in the jungle. By means of a manifold assembly the pressure tanks 

23 (1) German Chemical Warfare Materiel, p. I-P-8. (2) German Chemical Warfare, pp. 

24 Rpt, Engineer Board, Demolitions No. 38, Engineering Report on Test of Two-Man Flame 
Thrower, 1 Jul 43. 

23 Rpt, Infantry Board, Ft Benning, Ga., Cart Mounted Flame Thrower, 28 Sep 45. 



and fuel tanks of two or more portable flame throwers could be coupled 
together. Two hundred feet of hose connected the manifold to a special 
flame gun. The operator would crawl through the underbrush dragging the 
gun and hose along with him. With this device one operator could fire 
as much fuel as six men with portable flame throwers. The CWS developed 
the manifold flame thrower rather late in the war and it was not produced. 

The German Army, like the American, found the small fuel capacity 
of portable flame throwers a disadvantage, and it devised a larger weapon 
for its troops. Two men pulled the flame thrower, which weighed more 
than two hundred pounds and was mounted on a dolly fitted with two 
pneumatic tires. The fuel tank held approximately eight gallons, sufficient 
for twenty-five seconds of continuous firing. The range was about thirty 
yards. The Germans limited the distribution of this weapon, and it was 
not used to any great extent. 26 

Main Armament Mechanized Flame Throwers 

Just as World War II proved the value of portable flame throwers, it 
likewise demonstrated the usefulness of mechanized flame throwers. The 
CWS had designed its first mechanized flame thrower in World War I 
but did not have time to carry the weapon beyond the experimental stage. 
Intended for installation in a tank, the gun could expel a stream of oil 
fifty yards. After the war the service put mechanized flame throwers aside 
and did not work on them again for twenty years. 27 

The revival of the mechanized flame thrower began in the United States 
in the late 1930's after newspapers, magazines, and newsreels reported that 
the Italian Army had outfitted some of its armored units with this type of 
weapon. The Chemical Warfare Technical Committee laid down tentative 
military characteristics and in the summer of 1940 engineers constructed 
the weapon. Tests with this flame thrower uncovered flaws which were 
corrected in a second model, installed in an M2 medium tank. In the tank 
the flame gun replaced the cannon (the main armament), and for this 
reason the flame thrower became known as the main armament type. Two 
sixty-gallon reservoirs on the floor of the tank held fuel, and three com- 
mercial steel cylinders held compressed nitrogen for expelling it. Ignition 
was provided by propane gas lit by sparks from a spark plug. The opera- 

26 German Chemical Warfare, p. 141. 

27 Ray, Incendiaries, pt. Ill, 190-91. 



tor elevated and traversed the gun with his left hand and fired with his 
right. 28 

With this tank, observers on the Armored Force Board were able to 
see a mechanized flame thrower in action for the first time. They were 
not impressed and would not recommend flame throwers for the armored 
forces. 29 Their opinion, widely shared during the early part of the war, 
kept the development of mechanized flame throwers moving along at a 
slow pace. The CWS had to give priority to items that the troops did 
want, and engineers had difficulty getting tanks for further experiments. 
The opinion of the Armored Board was based on guesses that seemed 
reasonable at the time, not on experience. Later, as battle showed the 
value of flame warfare, opinions changed, but by then the CWS had lost 
irreplaceable development time. 

By the summer of 1942 engineers had the third model, mounted in an 
M3 medium tank, ready for tests. This flame thrower was provided with 
a larger fuel supply than previous designs, and used pressure from a rotary 
pump to expel the fuel. The pump eliminated the need for supplying gas 
cylinders and removed a potential safety hazard. But the pump took too 
much power from the tank engine, and the whirling blades of the pump 
smashed the cellular structure of thickened fuel, thinning it out so that 
it gave the same range as unthickened fuel. Changing back to compressed 
air, engineers obtained a range almost twice that of earlier flame throwers. 30 

At the same time the CWS was developing the flame throwing unit 
for tanks, NDRC engineers had taken up the study of some of the funda- 
mental factors involved in flame throwers such as the design of nozzles 
and the composition of fuels. 31 In March 1942 the NDRC contracted with 
several firms for a large flame thrower similar to the Ronson type of the 
Canadian Army. Several models were made, but none passed beyond the 
experimental stage. During this period, however, the firms gained experi- 
ence that later made possible the rapid development of model "Q" (for 
Quickie). Work on "Q" began in November in the plant of the Stand- 
ard Oil Development Co. Tanks were so scarce that the designers had to 

28 (1) Charles T. Mitchell, Development of Mechanically Transported Flame Throwers. 
TDMR 737, 15 Nov 43. (2) CWTC Item 167, Flame Thrower, Development of Mechanically 
Transported, 16 Jul 40. 

29 Rpt, Armored Board, Project No. 58, Report on Mechanized Flame Thrower, E2, 13 Sep 41. 

30 Mitchell, TDMR 737. 

31 The work of the NDRC on mechanized flame throwers is summarized in (1) Fire Warfare. 
(2) Baxter, Scientists Against Time, 294-97. (3) Noyes, Chemistry, 420-30. 



mount the weapon on an old truck. With napalm thickened fuel, "Q" 
had a range of more than 100 yards. 32 

By the beginning of 1943 there were thus two fairly satisfactory flame 
throwers, the CWS model and NDRCs "Q." Although theaters of opera- 
tion had not asked for main armament flame throwers the Army Ground 
Forces had watched the development of the weapon with approval. In 
March 1943 CWS arranged a demonstration to allow the AGF to decide 
which of the two models it preferred. This turned out to be "Q." The 
Army decided to place the flame thrower in light tanks, these being the 
only tanks available. 33 

Engineers mounted the flame gun, fuel reservoir, and compressed gas 
cylinders in a turret basket that was interchangeable with the regular turret 
basket of an M5A1 tank. The reservoir held 105 gallons of fuel that could 
be discharged at a rate of approximately two gallons a second. The range 
with ordinary fuel was 30 to 40 yards, with thick fuel 105 to 130 yards. 34 

Difficulty in getting tanks delayed the installation of flame throwers, 
and January 1944 arrived before the Armored Board received a weapon 
for test. By this time the M5Al tank was no longer in use, forcing the 
CWS and NDRC to start over and design a flame thrower for the M4 
medium tank. The work went forward slowly because the Army did not 
want to hold tanks in the United States, the CWS lacked engineers for 
the project, and considerable time was needed to perfect the complex 
mechanism. Finally representatives of CWS, AGF, ASF, and NDRC agreed 
that the fastest way to get a main armament flame thrower into action 
was to modify the earlier "Q." This was done rapidly, but the M5^i, as 
the flame thrower was designated, could not be installed until the spring 
of 1945 because tanks were still scarce. The war ended before the flame 
throwing tank could be shipped overseas. 35 

32 The CWS designation for this flame thrower was E7. The "Q" model is discussed in NDRC 
Div 11, OSRD Report 6012, Development and Field Use of E7-7 Mechanized Flame Thrower, 
12 Sep 45. 

33 (1) Ltr, Hq SOS to CG ASF, 24 Jan 43, sub: Military Characteristics for Mechanically 
Transported Flame Thrower, with two inds. SPRMD 470.71. (2) Memo, Munitions Development 
Div for CG CWS Tech Cmd, 30 Mar 43, sub: Report of Conference on Mechanized Flame 
Thrower. Proj 8.1 (FY 43) in Corres Files, CW Labs A CmlC, Md. 

34 (1) Development and Field Use of E7-7 Mechanized Flame Thrower, NDRC Div 11, 
Report No. OSRD 6012, 12 Sep 45. (2) Flame Thrower, Mechanized, E7-7, in Light Tank, 
M5A1. NDRC Div 11, Report No. OSRD 5125, 29 May 45. 

35 ( 1) Report of Activities of the Technical Division, p. 143. (2) Memo, Lt Col R. A. Meridith, 
ADG Asst Ground AG for CofS US Army, attn: G-4 Division, WDGS, sub: Mechanized Flame 
Thrower, 10 Oct 44. In AGF file 470.71. 



The CWS in the meantime had on its hands four obsolete light tanks 
that it had rigged up with flame throwers for Armored Board tests. The 
service did not wish to abandon these tanks since they were serviceable 
as flame weapons. It had the turrets strengthened and shipped the tanks 
to Manila early in 1945. The Sixth Army attached them to the 27th Divi- 
sion for assault operations on Myoko Mountain, and to the 38th Infantry 
Division in the Ipo Dam area. They were the only main armament flame 
throwers produced in continental United States to see combat. 36 

Main Armament Flame Throwers Produced in Hawaii 

Troops in the Pacific early discovered the value of flame throwers in 
overcoming fortified positions. By 1944 experience with flame warfare con- 
vinced them of the need for main armament flame throwing tanks. The 
weapons were not available for the reasons noted above and servicemen in 
the Central Pacific Area produced their own. 

The main armament flame thrower turned out in Hawaii was based 
on the Ronson flame thrower. The Ronson had been developed in Great 
Britain in 1941, rejected by the British Army because of its short range 
and low hitting power, and then accepted by the Canadian Army and 
produced in Canada. The Canadians sent twenty to the Pacific at the 
request of the V Marine Amphibious Corps. In January 1944 a team of 
men from the 43d Chemical Laboratory Company, the Royal Canadian 
Army, and the V Amphibious Corps installed a Ronson in an LVT, and 
on 3 February demonstrated it at Koko Head before high-ranking Army, 
Navy, and Marine Corps officers. The weapon satisfied the officers, who 
decided that it should be developed further. Shortly thereafter the Marine 
Corps stepped aside, leaving Col. George H. Unmacht, CWS, responsible 
for future work. 37 

The medium tank, rather than the LVT, was the most suitable mount 
for the Ronson, but as in other instances, medium tanks were needed for 
their high explosive firepower and were scarce. Only the obsolescent M3Al 
light tank could be obtained from Ordnance. The 43d Chemical Labora- 

36 (1) McKinney, Mechanized Flame Thrower Operations, pp. 142-50. (2) Sixth United 
States Army, Report of the Luzon Campaign, III, p. 89. 

'•'• 7 For the part played by the CWS in developing flame throwing tanks in the Pacific see: (1) 
History of Chemical Section, U.S. Army Forces Middle Pacific, 7 Dec 41-2 Sep 45, vols. II and 
III, in OCMH; (2) Col George H. Unmacht, "Flame Throwing Seabees," Armed Forces Chemical 
Journal, III (July 1948), 48-50, reprinted from United States Naval Institute Proceedings (April 



tory Company removed the 37-mm. cannon from a tank and replaced it 
with a flame gun, protected by a howitzerlike shroud. To lessen the pos- 
sibility of mechanical failure and to permit easier operation, the company 
redesigned the entire electrical system. The Honolulu Iron Works fabri- 
cated the fuel reservoirs. Satan, as the finished tank was called, used 
compressed carbon dioxide as the propellent gas, had a fuel capacity of 
170 gallons, and a range of 40 to 60 yards with oily fuel or of 60 to 80 
yards with thickened fuel. It was demonstrated on 15 April before Army, 
Navy, and Marine officers, and the following day Lt. Gen. Holland M. 
Smith asked for twenty-four Satans. 

In June on Saipan, marines employed the Hawaiian flame throwers for 
mopping up and, after the operators gained experience, in assaults. The 
tanks attacked dugouts, cane fields, buildings, and caves. Marines then 
shipped the tanks to Tinian and used them in the assault waves and in 
overcoming Japanese strongholds. 38 

These two islands served as proving grounds for the tank mounted 
flame thrower, and brought out faults in the design. The scarcity of napalm 
restricted the weapons to oily fuel, which gave a shorter range than 
marines wanted. Before the weapons were employed again, Colonel 
Unmacht's group overcame some of the flaws, and the supply channels 
opened to the flow of napalm. 

In September the Tenth Army, planning an attack— later canceled— 
on Formosa, requested that large capacity flame throwers be installed in 
fifty-four M4 medium tanks. In the first model the company installed a 
Ronson gun like that used on Satan. The Tenth Army pointed out that 
the silhouette was different from the 75-mm. gun of the regular M4 tank, 
and this would permit the enemy to spot flame tanks. The problem then 
arose of obtaining 75-mm. gun tubes to enclose the flame gun. Ordnance 
did not wish to sacrifice new tubes for the manufacture of flame throwers, 
and only a few salvaged tubes were available. Seabees machined these items 
to hold the flame gun, and in the meantime the ASF shipped fourteen 
salvaged tubes under high priority. Later, Colonel Unmacht obtained 
authority to use forty-two serviceable tubes for the purpose. 

The new flame thrower tank, designated POA-CWS "75" H-l (POA 
for Pacific Ocean Areas, H for Hawaii), was demonstrated to the Tenth 

38 (1) McKinney, Mechanized Flame Thrower Operations, pp. 75-78. (2) Maj Carl W. Hoff- 
man, "Marine Corps Monographs," The Seizure of Tinian (Washington, 1951), pp. 53, 131. 
(3) Maj Carl W. Hoffman, "Marine Corps Monographs," Saipan: The Beginning of the End 
(Washington, 1950), pp. 146, 252, 254. 



Army about 1 November. The weapon used compressed carbon dioxide 
gas to propel the fuel, had a fuel capacity of 290 gallons, a range of 40 
yards with oily fuel and 60 to 80 yards with thickened fuel. Eight tanks 
were sent to the Fleet Marine Force, Pacific, for the Iwo Jima operation 
and 54 were supplied to the 713th Provisional Flame Thrower Tank 
Battalion for the Ryukyus operation. 

On Iwo Jima, marines found the flame tanks particularly helpful in 
the later stages of the operation when they had to take a network of 
caves. By the time the marines had reached the northern end of the island, 
flame tanks had proven so useful that demands for them exceeded the 
supply. On Okinawa the operations took place on the hilly southern 
portion of the island where Japanese troops had defenses in cliffs, hills, 
and escarpments. The tank battalion carried out more than six hundred 
attacks, and fired almost 200,000 gallons of napalm thickened fuel. 39 

Troops on Okinawa employed an ingenious hose extension against 
caves that were out of range of tanks. The Navy donated fifty-foot lengths 
of fire hose which the men coupled together to form a hose four hun- 
dred feet long. They fastened one end of the hose to the fuel reservoir of 
the tank, and attached an M2-2 portable flame gun to the other end. In 
action the tank parked as close as possible to the target, the operators 
dragged the hose to a position within range, the tank pumped fuel through 
the hose, and the nozzleman ignited the fuel and directed the flame at 
the target. The extension was used with good results on a number of 
occasions. 40 

Troops objected to main armament flame throwers chiefly because they 
replaced the tank's cannon. To meet this criticism, Colonel Unmacht's 
staff drew up plans for mounting flame throwers alongside the cannon 
instead of replacing it. Work began in late 1944 when Fleet Marine Force, 
Pacific, anticipating an invasion of Japan, asked for at least seventy-two 
main armament flame throwers. Most of the tanks provided by the marines 
carried 75-mm. guns. The remainder carried 105-mm. howitzers. By 
judicious planning, designers arranged the interior of the vehicles to allow 

3y (1) McKinney, Mechanized Flame Thrower Operations, pp. 93-104, 108-39. (2) Maj 
Charles S. Nichols, Jr., and Henry I. Shaw, Jr., "Marine Corps Monographs/' Okinawa: Victory in 
the Pacific (Washington, 1955), pp. 132, 272. (3) Appleman, Burns, Gugeler, and Stevens, Oki- 
nawa: The Last Battle, pp. 229, 256-57, 277, 305, 340, 456. (4) Alvin P. Scauffer, The War 
Against Japan, UNITED STATES ARMY IN WORLD WAR II (Washington, 1952), p. 405. 

40 (1) McKinney, Mechanized Flame Thrower Operations, pp. 119-21, 124-25, 139-42. (2) 
Nichols and Shaw, Okinawa, p. 247. (3) Appleman, Burns, Gugeler, and Stevens, Okinawa, pp. 
441-42, 444. 


M4 Medium Flame-Thrower Tank in action on Okinawa, May 1943 

the storage of forty rounds of 75-mm. or twenty rounds of 105-mm. shells 
without decreasing the quantity of flame-thrower fuel. Handicapped by a 
scarcity of parts and a dearth of machinists and other craftsmen, the work 
proceeded slowly. During the battle on Okinawa the Tenth Army asked 
for eighteen of these tanks. They were on their way to that island by the 
time the battle ended, and were rerouted, instead, to the Marianas to 
equip the Marine , division rehabilitating there. Seventy tanks were ready 
for the invasion of Japan when the operation was called off and the war 
came to an end. 

The Marine Corps was not alone in using mechanized flame throwers. 
The Navy, after seeing a demonstration of model "Q" in December 1943, 
recognized the effectiveness of flame throwers in amphibious assaults. In 
January 1944 the Bureau of Ordnance ordered a model mounted on an 
LCVP or LCM. The complete unit, designated the Navy Mark I flame 
thrower, had a fuel capacity of 300 gallons and a maximum range of ap- 
proximately 110 yards with napalm thickened gasoline. The unit proved 
too heavy for an LCVP and the Chemical section at Pearl Harbor tried 
mounting it in an M3A5 tank. But the excessive weight (which reduced 
the mobility of the tank), the limited flame gun traverse of 60°, and other 



Lt. Gen. Wilhelm D. Styer standing in front of a flame thrower mounted on a 
medium tank chassis at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii. To the right of General Styer is 
Col. Jay C Whitehair, Howard C, Peterson, and Col. George F. Unmacht. 

difficulties ended the experiment. Finally an LVT-4 lightly armored 
amphibious tractor was found to be a fairly satisfactory mount. Six of 
these were used in the mopping-up phase of the Peleliu operation, par- 
ticularly around the caves of Umurbrogol mountain. The LVT-4 was not 
the ideal carrier and the crews were kept busy making repairs but the 
flame thrower itself proved rugged and dependable. 41 

Under Colonel Unmacht the composite group of Army, Navy, and 
Marine personnel produced more main armament flame throwing tanks 
than did engineers in the United States, but the problems which they faced 
were much simpler. The Army, Navy, and Marine Corps in the Pacific 
were anxious to get the weapons and gave the Chemical section all necessary 
assistance and supplies, whereas Edgewood could not get the Army to set 
up a requirement for a main armament flame thrower and had great diffi- 

41 (1) The Navy Mark I is described in: Summary Technical Report of Division 11, NDRC, 
vol. 3, Fire Warfare, pp. 112-16. (2) Maj Frank O. Hough, "Marine Corps Monographs," The 
Assault on Peleliu (Washington, 1950), pp. 32, 180-81. (3) Smith, The Approach to the Philip- 
pines, p. 564. 



culty obtaining tanks for conversion into flame throwers. American forces 
on one side of the world wanted the weapon, gave technicians full sup- 
port, and got it. Forces on the other side of the world were indifferent 
toward the weapon, gave technicians little support, and did not receive it. 

Enemy armies had mechanized flame throwers, but used them infre- 
quently. Indeed, there is no record of Italians or Japanese using flame tanks 
against United States troops. The Italians had had tank mounted weapons 
since the Ethiopian War, 1935-1936. The tank was quite light and mounted 
the flame gun coaxially with a machine gun. Fuel was carried in a trailer 
with a capacity of one hundred gallons. The range was rather low, from 
thirty to forty-five yards. The reasons why the Italians did not employ 
their tanks are not known. Among them may have been the lack of 
opportunity, unfamiliarity with flame thrower tactics, and conservatism of 
tank commanders. 42 

American troops did not see Japanese flame throwing vehicles until 
they captured eight on Luzon in 1945. The weapons were placed on 
amphibious tractors, similar to American DUKW's. The Japanese did not 
have fuel thickeners comparable to American napalm, and had to use mix- 
tures of crude oil, gasoline, and kerosene. Since Japanese troops employed 
portable flame throwers against Americans from early 1942 onward, it is 
difficult to explain why they did not use mechanized flame throwers. 
American troops learned by trial and error of the value of flame tanks, 
and perhaps the Japanese never threw off their conservatism sufficiently 
to give the tanks full-scale battle tests. 43 

The German Army was equipped with a Pz. Kw. Ill tank carrying a 
flame gun disguised as a cannon. The fuel capacity was more than 200 
gallons, the range about 40 yards. In addition the Germans had armored 
half-track vehicles carrying 2 large flame throwers on the sides and a small 
flame thrower at the rear. Each large flame thrower had a fuel reservoir 
of 95 gallons, and a range of 40 yards. The Germans also developed a 
trailer-mounted flame thrower that could be hauled behind a truck or tank. 
The 2-wheeled trailer carried a 40-gallon fuel reservoir, and was protected 
by armor plate. Only a few of these were ever manufactured. German flame 
fuels did not have particularly good thickening agents. The best was alumi- 
num alcoholare, but this was not as good as napalm. Generally German 

42 (1) McKinney, Portable Flame Thrower Operations, p. 34. (2) WD Intel Bull, Oct 42, pp. 

43 (l)McICinney, Portable Flame Thrower Operations, pp. 32-33. (2) WD Intel Bull, Sep 45, 
pp. 114-17. 



thickened fuels had little more, if any, range than American unthickened 
fuels. 44 

Auxiliary Mechanized Flame Throwers 

The auxiliary mechanized flame thrower was smaller than the main 
armament type, and at the most replaced only a machine gun in the tank. 
Since the tank retained its cannon, tank commanders did not raise as 
strenuous objections to the auxiliary flame thrower as they did to the main 
armament type. Warfare on the Pacific islands provided the impetus for 
the development of the auxiliary flame thrower. After the Battle of Guad- 
alcanal infantrymen and marines tried to devise ways of putting portable 
flame throwers in tanks so as to protect the operator from Japanese rifle 
fire. One group of soldiers drilled a hole in the armor of the tank near 
the bow machine gun and shoved through a flame gun. They fired the 
flame thrower, and then ignited the fuel by means of tracers. The 3d 
Marine Division modified a flame gun to fit the bow machine gun ball- 
and-socket joint. For the invasion of Kwajalein the 7th Infantry Division 
mounted flame throwers on LVT's and on light tanks. None of the im- 
provised mountings were successful until February 1944 at Bougainville 
when tanks carrying portable flame throwers supported an infantry assault 
against Japanese positions along the Torokina River. 45 

The idea of installing portable flame throwers in tanks was sound. The 
difficulty lay in the short range, small fuel capacity, and delicacy of the 
weapon which had not been designed to withstand the jarring vibration 
of tanks. Because troops constantly tried to improvise auxiliary flame throw- 
ers, the Army Service Forces in October 1943 requested the CWS to 
develop a standard model. Service engineers took the portable flame 
thrower and modified it to fit the bow machine gun ball-mount. Fuel res- 
ervoirs were designed for M3, M4, and M5 tanks. It took troops in the 
field several hours to install fuel reservoirs, but thereafter the operator 
could remove the machine gun and insert the flame gun in a minute or 
two. The flame thrower could fire a gallon of fuel per second to an effec- 
tive range of 25 to 30 yards with oily fuel, 50 to 60 yards with thickened 

44 (1) German Chemical Warfare, pp. 142-43, 153-55. (2) McKinney, Mechanized Flame 
Thrower Operations, pp. 194-95, 200. (3) WD Intel Bull, Jul 44, pp. 11-14. (4) Tactical and 
Technical Trends, no. 45, 1 Apr 44, pp. 7-14, a publication of Intel Div, WD. (5) Chemical 
Warfare Bulletin 30, p. 11, Aug-Oct 44. 

45 (1) Philip A. Crowl and Edmund G. Love, Seizure of the Gilberts and Marshall* , UNITED 
STATES ARMY IN WORLD WAR II (Washington, 1955), p. 233. (2) McKinney, Mecha- 
nized Flame Thrower Operations, pp. 2-8. 

M3A1 Light Tank Equipped With Flame Gun firing during a demonstration, 
New Zealand, October 1943. 

fuel. The CWS procured 1,784 model M3-4-3 bow flame throwers with 
fuel capacity of 50 gallons for M4 tanks, and 300 model E5R2-M3 with 
a capacity of 10 gallons for M3 or M5 tanks. Many bow-type flame throwers 
saw action in the European Theater, in the Marianas operation, on Pele- 
liu, Luzon, and other islands. 46 

Tank commanders were not all in favor of the bow flame thrower 
because it deprived them of an important machine gun. An alternative 
was to mount the flame gun in the turret alongside the periscope. The 
CWS and its contractors produced several periscope models, one of which 
(M3-4-E6R3) went into production in 1945 too late for war use. 47 

The Italian and Japanese Armies did not equip tanks with auxiliary 
flame throwers, but the German Army had two flame throwers that might 
be placed in this classification. For the Pz. Kw. II tank it developed a 

i6 (1) Crawford, Cook, and Whiting, Statistics, "Procurement," p. 24. (2) TM 3-362, Jun 45. 
(3) Finkelstein, Flame Throwers, pp. 261-89- (4) McKinney, Mechanized Flame Thrower Oper- 
ations, pp. 10-74. (5) The E4-5, E4R2-5R1, and E4R3-5R1 models occasionally mentioned in 
reports were prestandardization models of the M3-4-3, without one of tht . .el reservoirs. 

47 (1) Crawford, Cook, and Whiting, Statistics, "Procurement," p. 24. (2) Finkelstein, Flame 
Throwers, pp. 384-431. (3) TM 3-364, 6 Jun 45. 



Flame Gun To Fit .30-Cal. Machine Gun Mount of tanks is demonstrated 
to Seventh Army soldiers, France, February 1943. 

small flame thrower mounted in an individual turret. Tanks carried two 
of these turrets on the bow. Behind each turret was a small cylinder of 
acetylene for ignition and a large reservoir for thirty-five gallons of fuel. 
Electrical controls for traversing the turrets and firing the flame throwers 
were in the tank. The weapons could fire eighty bursts, each lasting two 
to three seconds, a distance of thirty-five yards. For the Pz. Jg. 38 tank 
the Germans provided a projector flame gun similar to the portable Flam- 
menwerfer 41. The fuel was held in three reservoirs with a capacity of 154 
gallons, and was pumped to the gun by a gasoline engine. The weapon 
could fire twenty-four bursts, which was the number of cartridges carried 
in the ignition magazine. The German Army seems to have made little 
use of auxiliary flame throwers. 48 

Auxiliary Flame Throwers Made in Hawaii 

Marines and infantrymen in the Pacific had hastened the development 
of auxiliary flame throwers and they were anxious to obtain the weapons. 

48 (1) Tactical and Technical Trends, no. 39, 2 Dec 43, pp. 9-11. (2) German Chemical War- 
fare Materiel, pp. I-P-15, I-P-16. (3) German Chemical Warfare, p. 142. 



Finally in 1944 the Tenth Army could wait no longer for weapons to 
come from the States. It asked the Chemical Section, USAFPOA, then 
engaged in producing main armament flame throwers, to provide at least 
eighty-eight periscope flame weapons. Colonel Unmacht's composite group 
constructed a model based on an experimental periscope flame thrower 
gun manufactured by the Armored Board at Fort Knox, which in turn had 
been based on the MlAl portable flame thrower gun. The gun was con- 
structed from a piece of metal tubing, and passed through a lVi-inch hole 
in the periscope ring. The fuel reservoir developed by technicians at Edge- 
wood for the bow auxiliary flame thrower was used when it was avail- 
able, but when it was not similar containers were manufactured at Pearl 
Harbor. Compressed air or nitrogen was used as the propellant. With 
unthickened fuel the range was twenty yards; with thickened fuel, twice 
that distance. The weapon could be mounted in any of the M4 medium 
tanks, 49 

One hundred and seventy-six of these were completed for the Tenth 
Army. They were on hand for the Okinawa and Iwo Jima campaigns, 
but they were not used extensively because Hawaiian-produced main arma- 
ment flame throwers, preferred for their large fuel capacity and greater 
range, were also available for these battles. 50 

The demand for auxiliary flame throwers waxed and waned during the 
war. When the Army first used them in 1944, troops in the Pacific liked 
them because they had a longer range and carried more fuel than the port- 
able flame thrower, and because armor allowed the flame thrower operator 
to approach Japanese positions without fear of rifle fire. But when Hawai- 
ian main armament flame throwers became available and troops had an 
opportunity to compare the auxiliary and the main armament in battle, 
their choice swung toward the latter type with its larger fuel capacity, 
greater range, and all-around mobility. By the end of the war the CWS 
and NDRC were concentrating their efforts on the development and pro- 
duction of large main armament weapons rather than small auxiliary 

49 ( 1 ) A full account of the development of the auxiliary flame thrower in Hawaii may be 
found in: History of Chemical Section, U.S. Army Forces Middle Pacific, 7 Dec 41-2 Sep 45, vols. 
II and III. (2) Tentative Instruction Book for Flame Thrower, Mechanized POA-CWS Periscope 
H (E4R2) A-H1A and HlB, prepared by CWS Central Pacific Base Command, 24 Feb 45, ETF 
550-344. (3) CW Supply Catalog, List of Service Parts and Spare Parts for Flame Thrower, Mech- 
anized, POA-CWS Periscope H (E4R2) A-HlB, prepared by Hq Central Pacific Base Command, 
1 Jul 45, ETF 550-484A. 

50 McKinney, Mechanized Flame Thrower Operations, pp. 15-21. 



Incendiary Projector for Airplanes 

In 1941 CWS engineers made some experiments to see if a flame 
thrower could be mounted on an airplane. They constructed a model and 
tested it on the ground. The turbulent blast of air from the propeller ex- 
tinguished the flame and the CWS dropped the project. Late in 1943 the 
Army Air Forces requested the service to resume work. It was reasoned 
that a rain of burning thickened fuel dropping from the sky might be 
used to set fire to enemy-held jungle, grassy areas, and supply dumps. 
At this time the British were working on an airplane flame thrower and 
the CWS profited from their experience. CWS and NDRC engineers de- 
signed a fuel container of the size and shape of the 4,000-pound bomb, 
fitting it with a discharge pipe and nozzle similar to that used on toxic 
spray tanks. Rocket motors provided gas that expelled the 210-gallon load 
of thickened gasoline in one spectacular burst. Technicians tested the pro- 
jector, aeroflame, as the weapon was called, on a wooden tower and in 
actual flight on B-25H airplanes. Although the aeroflame developed into 
a workable weapon, the CWS decided that droppable gasoline tanks were 
more effective in starting fires, and in 1944 it stopped the project for good. 51 

Emplaced Flame Throwers 

After Dunkirk, Britain's eastern coast lay vulnerable to invasion. As 
part of the defenses against German landings the Petroleum Warfare De- 
partment installed flame throwers along the Channel beaches. From under- 
ground storage tanks holding forty-five tons of fuel — a mixture of gaso- 
line, kerosene, and diesel oil— pipes led outward beneath the sea. Valves 
on the ends of the pipes could be opened by remote control, releasing oil 
which floated to the surface. Ignited by naval flares, the pools of oil would 
burn fiercely for hours. The British also emplaced flame throwers along 
roads to burn enemy vehicles and troops that might get ashore. 52 

Taking their cue from the British, the CWS developed a remote con- 
trolled flame thrower to be used to guard U.S. airfields and beaches. The 
steel fuel tank holding 120 gallons of oil could be placed in a pit along 
with two cylinders of compressed nitrogen. Pipes led above ground to 2 
flame thrower nozzles. The nozzles pointed in opposite directions, and 
threw streams of burning oil 40 yards. A wall of flame 80 yards long, 

51 T. Loew and C. T. Mitchell, Development of Incendiary Projector for Airplanes. TDMR 
909, 23 Oct 44. 

52 WD Intel Bull, Apr 46, pp. 39-44. 



lasting about a minute and a half, could be set up. The CWS standard- 
ized the device in 194l, but the Army found no use for it and discarded 
it at the end of the war. 53 

The first recorded use of emplaced flame throwers was by the Russians 
in the defense of Moscow. A line of flame throwers was set up in the 
outer defense zone that the Soviets had built in front of their capital to 
block the German Army. The body of the flame thrower was a cylindrical 
tank twenty-one inches high, twelve inches in diameter, and holding eight 
gallons of oil. Pressure was furnished by gas given off from burning pow- 
der. These flame throwers were dug in at intervals of about thirty yards 
and covered with stones, earth, or other natural materials as camouflage. 
Detonated electrically the weapon threw out a stream of flame lasting a 
second or two. When the Germans went on the defensive they employed 
emplaced flame throwers similar to the Russian type. The Japanese in 
Burma set up some field expedients, but these were of little value. 54 

The British flame weapons emplaced along the channel might have 
been useful barriers to an invasion, but the Russian and German weapons 
of this type probably had only a temporary psychological effect since they 
suffered from a limited range and fuel capacity. Furthermore, there was 
considerable labor in digging them in, the aim could not be changed once 
they were emplaced, they could only be fired once, the enemy might by- 
pass them, and their control wires could be easily damaged by shell fire. 
On the whole, World War II experience showed that the emplaced flame 
thrower had only slight value in warfare. 

Servicing Flame Throwers 

The job of the CWS did not end with the production of flame throw- 
ers. Weapons had to be serviced, fuels had to be mixed with thickeners, 
and compressed gas or air had to be supplied. The CWS rigged up an 
air compressor and mixing vat carried on a truck or trailer. With this 
equipment troops could mix the hundreds of gallons of thickened fuel 
used by flame tanks, and compress the large volume of air needed as a 
propellant. 55 

(1) CWTC Item 356, Emplaced Flame Thrower, 22 Jul 41. (2) CWTC Item 1513, Obsole- 
tion of Flame Thrower, Emplaced, Ml, 30 Dec 45. (3) CWTC Item 1564, same title, 28 Mar 46. 

54 (1) Tactical and Technical Trends, no. 26, 3 Jun 43, pp. 24-26. (2) WD Intel Bull, Nov 
44, pp. 80-85. (3) Ibid., Apr 46, pp. 39-44. 

55 (1) Mobile Flame Throwing Servicing Unit, 43d CWS Chem Lab TR 40, 18 Jul 44. (2) 
TM 3-361, 26 Jun 45. (3) CWTC Item 1487, Standardization of the Flame Thrower, Mechanized, 
M5-4, and the Service Unit, Mechanized Flame Thrower, M4, 4 Oct 45. 



Portable flame throwers did not require as much fuel and propellant 
as mechanized types, but nevertheless problems existed. While napalm and 
gasoline could be carried in cans and mixed when needed, a machine 
weighing 800 pounds was required to furnish compressed air. Such a com- 
pressor could be carried only on a jeep or truck. The CWS decided to 
develop a small, light, gas producer. With co-operation of the NDRC, it 
turned out a generator weighing sixty pounds and containing lithium hy- 
dride. When water was allowed to drip on the compound, hydrogen under 
a pressure of 2,000 pounds per square inch was evolved. This hydrogen 
could be piped into flame thrower gas tanks. The service started produc- 
ing these generators in the spring of 1945, and a few reached the theaters 
before the end of the war. 56 

Toxicology of Flame Attack 

A year after the initial operations in the Pacific the CWS began studies 
to discover the predominating characteristics and cause of death by flame 
and to learn what defensive measures might be devised against the use 
of flame by the enemy. The agencies engaged in various aspects of flame 
attack research with the CWS included NDRC units at the Massachusetts 
Institute of Technology, the Standard Oil Development Co., New York 
University, Harvard and Johns Hopkins Medical Schools; units of the 
Bureaus of Ordnance and Medicine of the Navy Department, the Armored 
Medical Research Laboratory; and the Experiment Station at Suffield, 
Canada. 57 

In studying the toxicology of flame attack in poorly ventilated enclosed 
spaces like those found in Japanese bunkers and similar fortifications, re- 
searchers determined that three important changes occurred within them 
at the moment of flame attack, quite aside from the penetration of the 
flaming fuel itself: there was a sudden jump in temperature, lethal con- 
centrations of carbon monoxide were built up in the bunker, and there 
was a dangerous lowering of oxygen content. They learned that 70 per- 
cent carbon monoxide in the blood resulted in unconsciousness and fre- 
quently in death and that this accumulation was obtainable in flame 
attack within two minutes. Furthermore, only one-tenth of one percent 

SH (1) TM 3-374, 7 Jul 45. (2) CWTC Item 1398, Standardization of Generator, Hydrogen, 
High-Pressure, Portable, Ml and Cartridge, Hydride, Hydrogen Generator, Ml, 2 Aug 45. 

57 Misc Rpt, Informal Notes of Meeting on Flame Throwers held at the Medical Research 
Laboratory, Edgewood Arsenal, 17 and 18 July 1944. MDF 109.1 Tech Lib, A CmlC, Md. (2) 
Noyes, Chemistry, pp. 258-59- (3) "CWS Studies Flame Deaths/' Chemical Warfare Bulletin 30 
(Apr-May 44), 31-32. 



carbon monoxide in the air was sufficient to maintain this lethal blood 
level, and it was present in bunkers for seven to ten minutes after flame 
attack. They also learned that for intervals up to fifteen seconds there was 
almost complete absence of oxygen in a bunker under attack, and that 
unconsciousness would likely be almost instantaneous in such an event. 
Any one of these factors or any combination of them, therefore, meant 
certain death, quite aside from the effects of direct contact with the flame. 58 

Work on flame defense led to the construction of a hood-type mask 
built to withstand 1,000° F. for one minute, to the development of a steel 
sliding door for pillbox apertures, to experimental fireproof clothing and 
water fog, and to spray extinguishers, all of which proved unsatisfactory. 
The CWS finally concluded that no positive defense could be devised 
against flame attack. 59 

Flame throwers were not major weapons in the same sense as cannon, 
rifles, and bombs. Rather they were weapons that proved valuable in cer- 
tain tactical situations. The men in the Pacific, the locale of most of these 
situations, did much to bring about the improvement of flame throwers. 
Americans started work on them later than Europeans and Japanese, but 
while enemy armies did not push the development of the weapon, Ameri- 
cans, particularly in the Pacific, called for it more and more frequently as 
the war progressed. Despite the fact that the American achievement in 
flame thrower development and production does not look impressive, it 
surpassed that of the enemy during the same period. 

58 "Toxicology of Flame Attack in Enclosed Spaces" and "Toxicology of Carbon Monoxide and 
Anoxia," in Symposium on the Toxicological Aspects of the Flame Thrower, Dumbarton Oaks, 
29 Jan 45. ETF 235-45. 

59 (1) MIT MR 136, Protection Against Flame Throwers, 12 May 45. (2) CWS R&D Pro- 
gram Monthly Report, FY 1945, Jun 45, p. 63. 



In 1917-18 the Chemical Warfare Service branched out from its research 
on toxic agents into other fields, one of which was incendiary mixtures. 
Chemists experimented with incendiary fillings for shells, grenades, and 
bombs, but did not have time to perfect any of the munitions. 1 In this 
field CWS overlapped the Ordnance Department's work on incendiaries. In 
1920 the War Department set up a line of demarcation between the two 
services, with the Ordnance Department henceforth to design the muni- 
tions and the CWS to provide the filling. 2 

During the 1920's and early 1930's the CWS practically ignored incen- 
diaries. In the first place, they had not been very effective in World War 
I, and there was no indication that they would be in the future. Secondly, 
there was a widespread feeling that high explosives were better. An Ord- 
nance Department study, written in 1934, stated that "everything that can 
be accomplished by an incendiary bomb can in most cases, at least, be 
accomplished as well or better by either a smoke bomb loaded with WP 
[white phosphorus] or demolition bomb loaded with a high explosive." 3 
Along the same line, Maj. Gen. Amos A. Fries had said in the Report of 
the CWS, 1922, "Purely incendiary materials are generally of much less 
importance [than smoke}." Thirdly, lack of funds forced the CWS to leave 
out of its research programs all but the most vital projects— and, as noted, 
incendiaries did not seem important at the time. Finally, the division of 

1 (1) Fries and West, Chemical Warfare, pp. 336-44. (2) Ray, Incendiaries. 

2 WD GO 54, Sec IIIc, 28 Aug 20. 

3 From a study on the relative effectiveness of incendiary and demolition bombs by Maj H. H. 
Zornig, OD, 17 Jan 34, quoted in A. L. Kibler, Brief Review of Work Done co Date on Incendi- 
aries. ETF 180-2, 10 Apr 34. 



responsibility between the CWS and Ordnance was unfortunate in one 
respect— neither service felt as enthusiastic about the development of in- 
cendiaries as it would have if given sole authority. 4 

The unrest abroad in the mid-thirties revived interest in incendiary 
bombs. In 1935 a reporter on the New York Herald Tribune covering the 
Italian invasion of Ethiopia found a partially burned bomb that had been 
dropped by an Italian plane. He shipped it back to his newspaper, which 
gave it to Professor Joachim E. Zanetti of Columbia University, a CWS 
reserve officer. Zanetti passed it on to the CWS, which then analyzed it. 5 In 
the summer of 1936 Maj. Gen. Claude E. Brigham sent an officer to Europe 
to gather information on incendiary bombs. In December of that year, the 
CWS added an incendiary project to its program, and chemists began experi- 
ments. These experiments provided them with the experience and data 
that were to prove extremely useful when the service began to produce 
incendiaries a few years later. 

Incendiary Bombs 

One-Hundred-Pound Bombs 

The earliest American incendiary bomb of World War II was the 100- 
pound missile, M47, It began in a roundabout way in 1937 when the GHQ 
Air Force asked the Ordnance Department for a chemical bomb. 6 Ord- 
nance completed the munition in 1940. At this time the armed forces had 
no incendiary bomb, and as an emergency measure the Ordnance Depart- 
ment recommended that the new chemical bomb be pressed into use as 
an incendiary, by loading it with gasoline and cotton waste. 7 While the 
idea seemed good, tests conducted by the CWS showed that ordinary gas- 
oline was almost useless as a filling. When bombs exploded the gasoline 
atomized and burned out so quickly that it scarcely had time to transfer 
heat and fire to the target, A material was needed to thicken the gasoline 
so as to make it burn slowly. 

4 Green, Thomson, and Roots, Planning Munitions for War, pp. 259, 452. 

5 L. Wilson Greene, "Prewar Incendiary Bomb Development," Armed Forces Chemical Journal, 
II (October 1947), 25-30. 

6 Ltr, CG GHQ Air Force to TAG, 2 Jul 37, sub: 100-lb Chemical Bomb. Cited in Ordnance 
Technical Committee Minutes (hereafter cited as OCM) 16808.. 

7 (1) Green, Thomson, and Roots, Planning Munitions for War, pp, 455-56. (2) Bomb, 
Chemical, 100-lb, M47, Classified as Standard, 3 Oct 40. OCM 16142. (3) Bomb, Chemical, 
100-lb, M47, Incendiary Filler, Approval of, 20 Nov 40. OCM 16274. 


Overseas the British were adding rubber to the gasoline in bombs, mak- 
ing a filling resembling sticky rubber cement. Following the lead of the 
British the CWS adopted smoked rubber, crepe rubber, and latex as thick- 
eners, designating the respective fillings as incendiary oil SR, incendiary 
oil CR, and incendiary oil LA. 8 

With the advance of Japanese armies in Southeast Asia cutting the flow 
of natural rubber to the United States, the CWS and NDRC made a 
wide search for substitute thickeners. Two lines of research led to success. 
Chemists at Du Pont found that isobutyl methacrylate polymer, (IM), 
converted gasoline into a tough, rubbery jelly. Unfortunately a large 
amount of IM— from 15 to 20 percent— was necessary to thicken gasoline 
to the required point, and IM was in short supply. Plastic firms were 
using it to make transparent bomber noses and other war items. The 
CWS had to find materials that could replace part of the IM without 
impairing the desirable properties of the filling. 9 

While experiments were going on with IM, NDRC chemists at Arthur 
D. Little, Inc., and Harvard University had taken a different tack and were 
investigating soaps as thickeners. Such an investigation had been carried 
out by CWS chemists in World War I but without much success. Their 
gasoline-soap mixtures had been hard and friable, lacking the adhesiveness 
and cohesiveness demanded in a gasoline incendiary filling. 10 The new gen- 
eration of chemists was more fortunate, coming up with an aluminum soap 
of naphthenic and palmitic acids that converted gasoline into a thick jelly 
suitable as an incendiary. The men named it napalm from w^phthenic and 
palmixiz. Gobs of napalm thickened gasoline, scattered by the explosion of 
a bomb, clung to many surfaces and burned fiercely for several minutes. 
The mixture was as effective as rubber thickened gasoline. Furthermore 
napalm could be used to thicken gasoline for flame throwers, greatly in- 
creasing the range. 11 

8 (1) CWTC Item 425, Incendiary Fillings for M47 100-lb Chemical Bomb, 16 Dec 41. (2) 
CWTC Item 457, same tide, 10 Feb 42. 

9 (1) Gaul and Finkelstein, Incendiaries, pp. 145-62. (2) Report of Activities of the Tech- 
nical Division, pp. 39-43. 

10 (1) Arthur B. Ray, "Incendiaries in Modern Warfare," Industrial and Engineering Chem- 
istry, 13 (1921), 645-46. (2) Ray, Incendiaries, pp. 33-57. 

11 (1) Louis F. Fieser, George C, Harris, E. B. Hershberg, Morley Morgana, Frederick C. 
Novello, and Stearns T. Putnam, " Napalm, ".Industrial and Engineering Chemistry, 38 (1946) 
768-73. (2) Louis F. Fieser, U.S. Patent 2,606,107, Incendiary Gels. (3) E, W. Hollingsworth, 
"The Use of Thickened Gasoline in Warfare," Armed Forces Chemical Journal, IV (January 1951), 
26-32. (4) R. W. HufTerd "Spectacular Developments Made in Incendiaries," Chemical Engineering, 
53 (1946), 110-13. (5) Summary Tech Rpt Division 11, NDRC, pp. 192-226. (6) Noyes, Chem- 
istry, pp. 410-19- 



Now the CWS possessed two thickeners, IM and napalm. It had to 
decide how much of each material to purchase. Firms which had begun 
to manufacture napalm were having difficulty producing satisfactory, uni- 
form batches. The thickener IM, on the other hand, was hard to obtain 
in competition with aircraft manufacturers and other war industries. The 
Army settled the question by allotting most of the IM elsewhere, leaving 
the CWS and its contractors to overcome the problems holding up the 
manufacture of napalm. By January 1943 only one manufacturer was in 
full-scale production, but at the end of the year nine other companies had 
joined in. From 500,000 pounds in 1943, production jumped to 8,000,000 
in 1944 and 12,000,000 in 1945. 12 

Finding a thickening agent for the gasoline filling was not the only 
difficulty in developing the M47 100-pound bomb. The casing had to be 
modified in several ways before the war was over. Originally the specifi- 
cations called for walls one thirty-second of an inch thick. After a num- 
ber of bombs had been made the CWS and the Ordnance Department 
discovered that the metal was too thin to withstand rough handling. New 
specifications doubled the wall thickness, the missile being redesignated as 
M47A1. 13 When bombs were filled with mustard, moreover, the agent for 
which they had originally been designed, pressure from gaseous decompo- 
sition products sometimes split the welds. Since the CWS had to keep a 
supply of mustard filled bombs on hand for retaliation in case of enemy 
chemical attack, the seams had to be strengthened. About the same time 
a problem arose with incendiary fillings. Bomb interiors were coated with 
acid-proof paint to protect them from corrosion by mustard. Evidence 
accumulated that this paint was affecting thickened gasoline. Bombs with 
thicker welds and without the acid-proof paint, designated as M47A2, were 
then turned out and saw action until the end of the war. 14 

During the conflict the CWS procured three and a half million M47- 
type bombs. Although referred to as 100-pounders, their total weight, in- 
cluding forty pounds of incendiary filling, was only seventy pounds. Japan 
and Germany each felt the flaming burst of more than one-half million 
missiles. In one attack on the Focke-Wulf aircraft plant at Marienburg, 

12 (1) See below J pp. 350-52] (2) Crawford, Cook, and Whiting, Statistics, "Procurement," 
p. 21. 

13 OCM 18706, 27 Aug 42, cited in CWTC Item 1275, Standardization of Bomb, Incendiary, 
100-lb, AN-M47A3, 22 Mar 45. 

14 Bomb, Chemical, 1004b, M47A1, Modification of, to Bomb, Chemical, 100-lb, M47A2, 
23 Oct 42. OCM 19111- (2) CWTC Item 803, Classification of 100-lb Incendiary Bombs, 3 
Sep 43. 

Burning Phosphorus From a 100- Pound Incendiary Bomb on an enemy 
airfield, Rabaul, New Britain. Aircraft are Japanese Betty-type bombers. 

East Prussia, in October 1943, Flying Fortresses dropped more than thir- 
teen thousand 100-pound incendiaries mixed with high explosives, almost 
completely destroying the works. That same month the ball-bearing plants 
at Schweinfurt suffered critical damage from M47 incendiaries and HE. 
Later in the war and on the other side of the world the XXI Bomber 
Command frequently employed mixtures of M47's and 6-pound M69 incen- 
diaries in fire raids on Japan. The U.S. Strategic Bombing Survey esti- 
mated that an M47 100-pounder was twelve times as effective as a 500-pound 
general purpose bomb against targets classified as readily inflammable, and 
one and one half times as effective against targets classified as fire resistant. 
The M47 napalm filled bomb, uneven as its development had been, proved 
to be one of the most valuable American bombs of the war. 15 

Germany and Japan had no incendiaries comparable to the American 

15 Crawford, Cook, and Whiting, Statistics, "Procurement." p. 21. (2) The Chemical Warfare 
Service in World War U, pp. 71, 74. (3) Wesley Frank Craven and James Lea Cate, eds, "The 
Army Air Forces in World War II," vol. II, Europe: Torch to Pointblank (Chicago: University 
of Chicago Press, 194*9), pp. 697, 703-704. (4) Wesley Frank Craven and James Lea Cate, eds, 
"The Army Air Forces in World War II," vol. V, The Pacific: Matterhorn to Nagasaki (Chicago: 
University of Chicago Press, 1953), pp. 614-44. (5) Green, Thomson, and Roots, Planning 
Munitions for War, p. 472. 



M47. The closest in weight were 50-kilogram bombs, but these carried 
explosives in addition to the incendiary filling. In the German bomb the 
incendiary effect came from thirty pounds of benzene thickened with rub- 
ber, with bits of phosphorus scattered through the mixture for ignition. 
The nose held twenty pounds of TNT, enough to cause a respectable 
explosion. The German Air Force did not employ this bomb to any great 
extent, generally relying on other types and sizes. 16 The Japanese missile 
contained thirty-five pounds of a solution of phosphorus and carbon disul- 
fide, in which were suspended phosphorus-impregnated rubber cylinders an 
inch long and an inch in diameter. A charge of picric acid in the nose 
of the bomb caused casualties and could also be set for air bursts which 
scattered rubber incendiary pellets up to 150 feet. The 50-kg. bomb was 
generally employed by the Japanese. 17 

Four-Pound Magnesium Bombs 

Surprising as it may seem, the first great incendiary raids of World 
War II were not carried out with large bombs, but with small missiles 
weighing only a few pounds. In September 1940 the Germans showered 
London with 1-kg. magnesium alloy bombs, starting innumerable fires, 
damaging considerable property, and injuring many people. Any doubt 
concerning the effectiveness of small incendiaries was gone forever. A few 
months later the Joint Aircraft Committee, established to allocate Ameri- 
can materiel between the United States and Great Britain, recommended 
that the Ordnance Department produce a 4-pound magnesium bomb 
suitable for the Army, the Navy, and the British. Ordnance thereupon 
modified the British Mark II/A 4-pound incendiary and standardized it as 
the American AN-M50 (A standing for Army, N for Navy). 18 

During the preliminary work it became apparent that the old demarca- 
tion between the CWS and Ordnance Department which gave the former 
responsibility for the filling and the latter jurisidiction over the casing 
would not be an efficient way of manufacturing magnesium bombs. One 

16 German Chemical Warfare Materiel, p. II-D-5. 

17 (1) Japanese Chemical Warfare. (2) CoL George J. B. Fisher, Incendiary Warfare (New 
York: McGraw-Hill, 1946), p. 49. 

18 (1) Memo for the Secretary, Ordnance Technical Committee ; 1 Apr 4l, sub: Bombs. 
Standardization by Army, Navy, British Purchasing Committee. Cited as ref a, CWTC Item 1220, 
Obsoletion of 40-lb Steel Case Type Incendiary Bombs and Clusters for Same, 11 Jan 45. (2) 
Bomb, Incendiary, 4-lb, and Bomb, Incendiary, 40-lb, Classified as Standard and Designated 
Bomb, Incendiary, 4-lb, AN-M50, and Bomb, Incendiary, 40-lb, AN-M51, 19 May 4l. OCM 
16816. (3) Bombs, Incendiary, 44b, AN-M50-X, 4-lb, AN-M50, and 40-lb, AN-M51, Clear- 
ance for Procurement and Classification as Standard, 22 Jul 41. OCM 17028. 



organization should have charge of the entire operation, planners agreed. 
Ordnance, busy with other munitions and not enthusiastic about incendi- 
aries, dropped out, leaving the CWS in full charge of the AN-M50 and 
related bombs. 19 

Initial investigations at Edgewood improved the fuze, found substitutes 
for critical materials (such as a metal plug for a cork plug in the vent), 
and modified the filling. The completed bomb, AN-M50A1 (Al signifying 
the first alteration in the standard munition), was approximately twenty- 
two inches long, hexagonal in cross section, and about three inches thick. 
The cast magnesium body held a thermite-type mixture known as therm-8, 
or thermate. The filling would burn for 1 to 2 minutes, the case for 6 to 
7 minutes longer. 20 

Factories began to turn out magnesium bombs in the spring of 1942, 
slowly at first but soon in tremendous quantities. Most of the bombs went 
to Great Britain on lend-lease and were dropped in air raids over Europe. 
The early 4-pound bomb had flaws, as might be expected in a new muni- 
tion. Fuzes sometimes broke when the bombs struck, first fire mixtures 
failed to heat fillings to the ignition point, and metal plugs stuck in vents, 
causing heated air to build up pressure and blow the bombs apart. Fur- 
thermore, the British dropped the bombs from higher altitude than the 
CWS had designed them for, and many of the bombs broke on impact. 21 

Engineers at CWS strengthened the fuze to withstand harder impacts, 
replaced metal vent plugs with cork, and developed a better first fire mix- 
ture. The improved bomb, AN-M50A2, slightly lighter and thinner than 
its predecessor, functioned well. As fast as the new munitions came from 
plants they were shipped to Europe and used. The earlier model remained 
in reserve until 1944 when it was discarded. 22 

19 (1) Green, Thomson, and Roots, Planning Munitions for War, pp. 259, 452. (2 ) Ltr, C 
Ord to C CWS, 10 Jul 41, sub: Procurement of Incendiary Bombs, with inds. CWS 471.6/241- 
280. (3) Notes of conference in office of General Moore at 1 1 p.m. on 15 July, 1941, by Lt 
Col J. T. Lewis, Asst SGS, sub: Incendiary Bombs. CWS 471.6/241-280. (4) Brophy and Fisher, 
lUrganmng for War, chTTTI (5) WD GO 10, Sep 41. (6) WD GO 13, 24 Nov 41. 

20 (1) Therm-8 was a mixrure of 80 percent thermite and 20 percent of the Ordnance Depart- 
ment's M8 flare mixture. (2) L. Wilson Greene, "Prewar Incendiary Bomb Development/' pp. 
25-30. (3) TM 9-1980, 3 Jun 42. (4) TM 3-330, 23 Mar 42. 

21 (1) Ltr, CG SOS ETO to Chm CWTC, 13 Apr 43, sub: 4-lb Incendiary Bomb, AN- 
M50A1. CWS 471.6/68. (2) Report of Activities of the Technical Division, p. 89. 

(1) Capt J. H. Gilbert, Development of 4-lb Incendiary Bomb, AN-M50A2. TDMR 1224, 
4 Mar 46, (2) Baum, History of Research and Development of the CWS in WW II, pp. 37-46. 

(3) S. J. Magram, A Survey of Starters for Burning-Type Munitions. TDMR 655, 24 May 43. 

(4) Lt J. E. Gilbert, Fillings for Magnesium Incendiary Bombs, AN-M52. TDMR 437, Sep 42. 

(5) CWTC Item 807, Standardization of Bomb, Incendiary, 4-lb, M50A2, 3 Sep 43. (6) CWTC 
Item 1017, Obsoletion of Bomb, Incendiary, 44b, AN-M50A1, 5 May 44. 



Aircraft dropped more 4-pound magnesium bombs than all other in- 
cendiary bombs put together. Almost thirty million fell on Europe, and 
almost ten million on Japan, causing damage that ran into astronomical 

Four- Pound Steel-Cased Bombs 

The chief obstacle blocking American production of magnesium bombs 
in 1941 was the scarcity of magnesium. Since the metal had little com- 
mercial use before World War II, America did not have a large magne- 
sium industry. During the emergency period firms sent most of the metal 
to aircraft plants, leaving little available for other purposes. Despite the 
fact that industry expanded its facilities as rapidly as possible, for a time 
there was simply not enough of the metal for the armed forces. 

The Ordnance Department was aware of these facts when it began 
development of 4-pound magnesium bombs. It planned a substitute bomb 
having the same dimensions and incendiary filling as the M50, but with 
a steel case in place of magnesium. It sent the plans and models of the 
substitute bomb, called the M54, to the CWS when that service took 
over responsibility for incendiaries, and the bomb was completed by the 
technical staff at Edgewood. 23 

The CWS let out contracts, through its procurement districts, for 
enough metal parts and thermate filling to fabricate twenty million M54 
bombs. Contracts were signed in November 1941, and so effectively did 
industry co-operate that the first missiles were ready for testing at Aber- 
deen Proving Ground in December, several months before the magnesium 
bombs came from production lines. Each month millions of bombs were 
fabricated, filled, and stored in CWS depots to await the call of the Air 

Not all of the bombs, however, remained in storage. On 24 February 
1942, the Eastern Chemical Warfare Depot at Edgewood Arsenal received 
orders to ship forty-eight 500-pound clusters of AN-M54 bombs to 
Benicia Arsenal, California, for reissue to Lt. Col. James H. Doolittle. 
The men who filled the order and handled the clusters had no idea of 
their ultimate destination. Shortly after noon on April 18 a B-25 bomber 
commanded by Doolittle roared over Tokyo and unloaded some of these 

23 (1) Bomb, Incendiary, 4-lb, Tl Classified as Substitute Standard for Bomb, Incendiary, 
4-lb, AN-M50, Designated Bomb, Incendiary, 4-lb, AN-M54, 28 Jul 41. OCM 17052. (2) 
CWTC Item 412, Approval of Development Project for Small ( 1 to 2 lb) Incendiary Bomb, 
and Military Characteristics, 14 Oct 41. 



B-25 Bomber Loaded With 500-Pound Clusters of M54 Bombs leaving 
the flight deck of USS Hornet for the first American airstrike against the Japanese 
homeland, April 1942. 

clusters on the city. Plane after plane followed, bombing factory areas and 
military installations, while other aircraft struck at Kobe, Yokohama, and 
Nagoya. 24 

Doolittle's raid, the first American airstrike against the Japanese home- 
land, was one of the few times during the war when M54 bombs were 
used. After increasing supplies of magnesium enabled the CWS to procure 
large quantities of M50 bombs, the service finally halted production of 
the substitute bomb altogether. Thirteen million M54 bombs lay in ware- 
houses while millions of M50's passed by on their way to air bases. In 
1945 when there was no possible chance of M54 bombs being pressed 
into service again, the CWS declared the model obsolete. 25 

The fact that the Air Forces almost never employed M54's during the 
war made the production of steel-cased bombs, in one sense, a loss. On 

24 (1) George W. Scaggs, History of the Eastern Chemical Warfare Depot (formerly Edge- 
wood Depot), p. 99. (2) Wesley Frank Craven and James Lea Cate, eds, 'The Army Air Forces 
in World War II," vol. I, Plans and Early Operations (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 
1948), pp. 438-44. 

23 (1) CWTC Item 1220, Obsoletion of 4-lb Steel Case Type Incendiary Bombs and Clusters 
for Same, 11 Jan 45. (2) CWTC Item 1288, same title, 22 Mar 45. 



the other hand, these bombs were a reserve for a possible emergency. 
The contractors had the tools, men, and experience, moreover, to switch 
to the production of magnesium bombs when magnesium became avail- 
able. Under the circumstances the loss was more apparent than real. 

Clusters for Four-Pound Bombs 

Four-pound magnesium bombs and other small incendiaries were not 
dropped individually, but in clusters which were held together by devices 
called adapters. 

The Ordnance Department began development of the first American 
adapter. The CWS inherited the item when it accepted responsibility for 
incendiary bombs. 26 The device was made up of two end plates, two 
longitudinal bars, and four steel straps, and it held together thirty-four 
bombs. The adapter was designated as Model M5, the entire cluster of 
bombs as the AN-M6. 27 A larger adapter, holding 128 bombs, was de- 
veloped shortly afterward. This adapter was standardized as the M6, the 
cluster as the AN-M7. 28 

These clusters, known as the quick-opening type, endangered aircraft. 
Occasionally they opened so quickly that parts glanced off the tail of the 
bomber. Parts of the adapter also "drifted" through the air and sometimes 
struck planes coming along below. To keep the cluster intact until it 
fell a safe distance the CWS devised delay mechanisms. One device blew 
open the straps twelve seconds (equivalent to a 2,000 foot drop) after 
the cluster left the plane. Another device was a metal flap, hinged to the 
end of the adapter. The air jerked up the flap, pulling wires which opened 
the cluster twenty-five to fifty feet below the plane. The delay mecha- 
nisms worked well, but the CWS did not standardize them because aim- 
able clusters were superseding the quick-opening type. 29 

Aimable clusters were developed to improve the accuracy of high alti- 
tude bombing. Quick-opening clusters had been suitable for low or medium 

26 (1) Ltr, C CWS to CG EA, 22 Sep 41, sub: Design of Cluster Adapters for 4-lb Incendiary 
Bombs. CWS 680.429/390. (2) The Ordnance model, T2, is described in TM 3-330, 23 Mar 42. 

27 (1) CWTC Item 898, Standardization of Incendiary Bombs, 21 Jan 44. (2) TM 9-1980, 
3 Jun 42. (3) Seth Q. Kline, Robert E. Patchel, and Charles T. Mitchell, Development of Quick- 
Opening Cluster Adapters, M4, M5, M6, M7, and M8 for Incendiary Bombs. TDMR 1015, 16 
Apr 45. 

28 (1) CWTC Item 898, cited above. (2) TM 9-1980, Nov 44. 

29 (1) Capt Theodore R. Paulson and Charles T. Mitchell, Development of Delay Buckle 
Release on Cluster Adapters for Small Bombs. TDMR 795, 20 Jan 44. (2) Aaron S. Berlin, 
Development of 100-lb Cluster Adapter E20 for Low Altitude Bombing. TDMR 889, 13 Sep 44. 



altitude bombing raids because the bombs landed within a small area. 
As the war progressed and planes flew at higher altitudes, bombs from 
quick-opening clusters scattered widely as they fell, many landing com- 
pletely outside the target area. Aimable clusters prevented this fault by 
holding bombs together until they were some distance down, then opening 
by means of a time fuze and allowing the bombs to fall free. 

Aimable cluster M17 consisted of an adapter, M10, and 110 4-pound 
bombs. The total weight was 490 pounds. The adapter was similar to 
the quick-opening type, but was streamlined by being enclosed in a cylin- 
drical case, and by attachment of a tail fin and round nose. A time fiize 
adjustable from six to ninety-three seconds regulated the distance that the 
cluster fell before opening. The fuze detonated a strand of primacord, 
enclosed in a long tube running the length of the cluster, and the ex- 
ploding primacord burst the steel straps binding the cluster. Later, on 
recommendation of the Joint Aircraft Committee, the CWS modified the 
adapter so that the cluster could be used on British and Navy aircraft. 
The modified cluster, designated as Model AN-M17A1, was used through- 
out the remainder of the war. 30 

Explosive Four-Pound Bombs 

In any raid a number of bombs would turn out to be duds, others 
would land on open ground, and still others would burn out in buildings 
without setting them afire. Therefore only a fraction of the bombs would 
start a fire and if firemen were alert they had an excellent chance of ex- 
tinguishing the bombs or limiting the blaze. While airmen could not 
avoid wasting bombs they could give those that hit the target an oppor- 
tunity to start conflagrations if they could keep firemen away. 

The British solved this problem by producing magnesium bombs con- 
taining a small amount of black powder, and mixing these explosive 
incendiary bombs with the regular type. When bombs landed, fire fighters 
were unable to distinguish between explosive and nonexplosive bombs 
and kept their distance. Explosive bombs themselves had a disadvantage 
since the blast scattered the incendiary mixture and lessened the chance of 

30 (1) CWTC Item 924, Standardization of Adapter, Aimable Cluster, M10 (500-lb size), 
21 Jan 44. (2) Seth Q. Kline, Development of Aimable Cluster E4, 500-lb, for Incendiary Bombs 
AN-M50, TDMR 724 1 Sep 43. (3) CWTC Item 1019, Standardization of Cluscer, Aimable, 
Incendiary Bomb, AN-M17A1, 5 May 44. (4) TB CW 11, Aimable Cluster, AN-M17A1, 27 Jun 



a fire; therefore only a small proportion of explosive bombs were mixed 
with the regular missiles. 

When the Ordnance Department began the development of magnesium 
incendiaries for the American Army early in the war it adopted the Brit- 
ish explosive bomb, changed its designation to AN-M50X (the X for 
"explosive"), and then passed it on to the CWS along with other bombs. 
Service engineers changed the design slightly, redesignating it as the AN- 
M50X-A1. The powder charge was held in a plastic cup in the nose of 
the bomb, and detonated when heat from the filling reached it. 31 

In 1942 the Germans went a step further and substituted lethal TNT 
for the relatively harmless but terrifying black powder. Raiders flying 
over Birmingham, England, in July released explosive incendiary bombs 
that caused more than five hundred casualties. In retaliation the AAF 
asked that American 4-pounders be loaded with HE. 32 The CWS designed 
a bomb identical in size, shape, and weight with the standard magnesium 
bomb, except that it had a hollow steel nose filled with tetryl, detonated 
by a delay fuze. This fuze gave the incendiary an opportunity to start 
a fire before exploding. Then tetryl shattered the steel nose and the lower 
section of the magnesium case into hundreds of fragments, capable of 
injuring or killing people within a radius of fifty feet. Two types of ex- 
plosive bombs were produced, one exploding between 1 and 10 minutes 
after it struck (type A), the other exploding after a delay of 60 to 70 
seconds (type B). The bombs were used in the ratio of 4 of type A to 
one of type B, since this brought about the most uniform distribution of 
explosions. 33 

The explosive bomb was based on the current 4-pound magnesium 
bomb, M50A1, and therefore had flaws that appeared in the standard 
bomb. When the CWS redesigned the latter in 1943 it incorporated simi- 
lar changes in the explosive bomb, redesignating it as M50X-A3 and em- 
ploying it throughout the remainder of the war. 34 

31 (1) Bomb, Incendiary, 4-lb, and Bomb, Incendiary, 40-lb Classified as Standard and Desig- 
nated Bomb Incendiary, 4-lb, AN-M50, and Bomb, Incendiary, 40-lb, AN-M51, 19 May 41. 
OCM 16816. (2) Bombs, Incendiary, 4-lb, AN-M50-X, 4-lb, AN-M50, and 40-lb, AN-M51, 
Clearance for Procurement and Classification as Standard, 22 Jul 41. OCM 17028. (3) CWTC 
Item 411, Incendiary Bombs, 14 Oct 41. 

32 Ltr, C CWS to CG CWS EA, 17 Aug 42, sub: Incendiary Bomb with Explosive Charge. 
AGO 471.6/510. 

33 (1) CWTC Item 670, Standardization of Bomb, Incendiary, 4-lb, M50X-A2. (2) CWTC 
Item 714, same title, 23 Apt 43. (3) L. M. Prince, Jr., Variable Delay Explosive Incendiary 
Bomb, AN-M50X-A2. TDMR 585, 27 Mar 43. 

34 Louis G. Willke, Development of Bombs, AN-M50X-A3, Type A, Type B, and Type B 
Alternate. TDMR 1041, 16 May 45. (2) CWTC Item 838, Standardization of Bomb, Incendiary, 
4-lb M50X-A3, 15 Oct 43. 



In incendiary clusters for the Air Forces, the CWS packed approximately 
20 percent explosive incendiary bombs. Model AN-M6 quick-opening 
cluster contained 34 bombs, of which 6 were explosive. Quick-opening 
cluster AN-M7 held 128 4-pounders, including 26 of the explosive type. 
Aimable cluster M17A1 carried 88 incendiary and 22 explosive. 35 

It is not known how many casualties explosive bombs caused, in all 
probability a relatively small number. But certainly the presence of ex- 
plosives kept fire wardens from approaching burning missiles and putting 
them out, with consequent great property damage. 

Large Incendiary Bombs 

In the spring of 1942 the CWS received reports that German aircraft 
were dropping large incendiary bombs filled with crankcase oil. The Brit- 
ish, too, were employing large missiles filled with rubber thickened gaso- 
line in their raids over Germany. As a result the CWS decided to develop 
incendiary bombs much larger than any of the standard American models. 36 

A large bomb could not be obtained by simply filling a casing with 
thickened gasoline. The missile had to be ballistically stable for accurate 
bombing, it had to burst at the proper moment, and it had to have a 
device for setting the filling on fire. Beginning with a design similar to 
the Ordnance Department's 250-pound general purpose bomb, the CWS 
constructed a missile holding 95 pounds of thickened fuel and weighing 
160 pounds filled. Although the bomb was too large and the black powder- 
magnesium burster igniter failed to set off the filling, the design served 
as a steppingstone to a better bomb. This munition, smaller and lighter 
(135 pounds), with less filling (70 pounds), and a HE- white phosphorus 
burster igniter, seemed likely to be satisfactory. The project came to an 
end in April 1943, however, when the Army Air Forces asked instead for 
a 500-pound munition suitable for precision bombing against large indus- 
trial targets. 37 

While the 500-pound bomb was being developed the CWS had been 
experimenting with a new incendiary filling called pyrotechnic or PT-1 

35 Nellie Anson, Clusters and Adapters for Chemical and Incendiary Bombs. ETF 420-21, 1 
Dec 47. 

36 (1) Ltr, C Tech Svc OC CWS to CG Edgewood Arsenal, 4 Jun 42, sub: Chemical Bombs. 
(2) Ltr, C Tech Svc OC CWS to CG Edgewood Arsenal, 6 July 42, sub: Chemical Bombs. Both 
in CWS 471/51. 

37 (1) Capt Roman L. Ortynsky, The E-l and the E-2 250-lb Incendiary Bombs. TDMR 
1032, 26 Apr 45. (2) Lcr, CG AAF to C CWS, 3 Apr 43, sub: Large Incendiary Bombs. AAF 
471.6. (3) CWTC Item 694, Military Characteristics for 500-lb Scatter Type Incendiary Bomb, 23 
Apr 43, 



fuel. This was a complex material, having as its main ingredient "goop," 
a mixture of magnesium particles and asphalt used as an intermediate in 
the Hansgirg magnesium process. To goop was added gasoline thickened 
with IM, oxidizing agents, and magnesium scraps from magnesium bomb 
plants. The PT-1 fuel provided a use for magnesium that otherwise would 
have been wasted. It also gave the service a filling which, because of its 
hot, metallic ash, was a better fire starter than ordinary thickened gasoline, 
particularly against targets that did not ignite easily. 38 

As in the case of gasoline thickening agents, HC smoke mixtures, and 
other materials, the CWS had to look forward to the possibility that a 
shortage might develop in PT-1. The supply of goop and IM were both 
critical. Chemists found that IM might be replaced by synthetic rubber, 
and goop by a magnesium-aluminum alloy. These substitute mixtures, 
PT-2 and PT-3, were not employed since sufficient ingredients kept coming 
to produce ample amounts of ordinary PT-1 fuel. 39 

Four types of 500-pound bombs looked suitable on paper, and to deter- 
mine which was best the technical staff, with co-operation from the Ord- 
nance Department, set to work on all of them. One had a thick steel 
casing filled with napalm and carrying a HE-white phosphorus burster 
igniter. Two others were identical with the above except for the casing, 
one being of thin steel, the other of magnesium. The fourth bomb was 
filled with a number of small incendiary units that scattered when the 
bomb exploded. 40 

The thin steel-cased bomb was eliminated midway in development 
because of production difficulties, but the other three went through the 
testing process. The final choice, based on ease of production and bomb- 
ing results against industrial-type test buildings, was the thick steel-cased 
missile, designated as AN-M76. 41 

The AN-M76, essentially a modified 500-pound general purpose bomb, 

:,H Capt W. A. Franta, Capt Harvie Barnard, and James S. Carson, Development of PTl 
Incendiary Gel (pyrogel). TDMR 1283, 2 Mar 48. 

39 (1) Capt E. J. Schantz, Lt Bradley Dewey, Jr., and James S. Carson, PT-2 Incendiary Gels 
Thickened with Synthetic Rubber. TDMR 962, 22 Jan 45. (2) Capt Bradley Dewey, Jr., and 
James S. Carson, PT-3 Incendiary Gels Thickened with Synthetic Rubber. TDMR 1180, 21 
Feb 46. 

40 (1) Capt Roman L. Ortynsky, The 500-lb Incendiary Bomb, El. TDMR 1043, 1 May 45. 
(2) Capt William H. Daiger, Test of the 500-lb. Magnesium Incendiary Bomb, E12. TDMR 
1049, 12 May 45. (3) Capt Julius Kovitz, Development of 500-lb Tail Ejection Incendiary Bomb, 
El6. TDMR 1016, 30 Mar 45. 

41 (1) Capt Roman L. Ortynsky, The AN-M76 (T2-E1) 500-lb Incendiary Bomb. TDMR 
1028, 25 Apr 45. (2) CWTC Item 928, Standardization of Bomb, Incendiary, 500-lb, M76, 21 
Jan 44. 



held either 115 pounds of IM filling or 180 pounds of PT-1 filling, for 
a total weight of 425 or 490 pounds. In comparison with the 100-pound 
M47, the 500-pounder had greater penetrating power, was more accurate 
and, containing three to four times more filling, created a more intense 
fire. It was therefore the choice against strongly constructed industrial and 
military structures that might withstand the impact of a 100-pound bomb, 
or against targets that had to be bombed accurately from high altitudes. 
On the other hand, it was wasteful to drop 500-pounders on light struc- 
tures since a plane could carry more 100-pound bombs and start a larger 
number of fires. 42 

The Army Air Forces did not drop nearly as many 500-pound bombs 
as it did smaller missiles, since the large munitions were intended for use 
only against heavily roofed structures that could stand up under the im- 
pact of light bombs. Still, the number dropped by aircraft was by no 
means insignificant, more than 39,000 falling on Germany and almost 
38,000 on Japan. 43 

The five-hundred pound bomb was the heaviest incendiary standardized 
by the CWS, but several larger missiles went part way through the de- 
velopment stage. The idea of a 1000-pound incendiary had its origin in the 
fire bomb, prepared in the field by filling droppable airplane gas tanks 
with thickened gasoline. Since the Navy already had a 1000-pound prac- 
tice bomb, Mk 66, the CWS decided that modification of the Navy missile 
would be the quickest means of producing an incendiary bomb of this 
size. Engineers loaded the Mk 66, using a range of napalm fillings and a 
variety of burster igniters, but V-J Day arrived before the work was com- 
pleted. 44 The Navy's 2000-pound bomb, Mk 67, served in the same man- 
ner as a model for a 2000-pound incendiary, and the end of the war also 
brought an end to this project. 45 

The large bombs of the German Air Force weighed approximately 250 
and 550 pounds. They were thin shelled missiles filled with crude oil and 
were not particularly efficient. Thickened fillings, which probably would 
have increased the effectiveness of the bombs, were just coming into use 
when Germany surrendered. Japan's largest incendiary bomb, weighing 
about 550 pounds, was radically different in design from American or 
German bombs. It contained more than 700 open-end iron cylinders filled 

42 TB CW 4, Bomb, Incendiary 500-pound M76 (T2-E1), 4 Apr 44. 

43 Chemical Warfare Service in World War II, p. 74. 

44 Gaul and Finkelstein, Incendiaries, pp. 585-91. 

45 Ibid., pp. 591-92. 



Lockheed P-38's Dropping Fire Bombs near Ipo Dam, Luzon. 

with thermite. Fuzed to burst 150 to 200 feet above the ground, the bomb 
scattered the cylinders, which continued to burn for about one minute, 
over a radius of 500 feet. 46 

Fire Bombs 

Somewhere early in the war a pilot dropped his spare gasoline tank 
on an enemy position, circled back and ignited the gasoline with tracer 
bullets. Who the first pilot was to employ his fuel tank as a bomb and 
where the action took place are not matters of record, but the event marked 
the birth of the fire bomb, as this type of incendiary was called. Jettison- 
able wing and belly tanks were convenient because they were on hand at 
almost all airfields and could be employed as bombs without affecting 
their primary purpose as gasoline containers. The Army Air Forces tried 
to find a device that would fire the gasoline when the tank smashed into 
the target, and thus save the pilot from making a dangerous, low altitude 
pass over the area to ignite the gasoline with tracers. They tried attach- 
ing incendiary grenades and small incendiary bombs to tanks, but tests 

4e (1) Japanese Chemical Warfare. (2) German Chemical Warfare Materiel, p. 160. (3) Fisher, 
Incendiary Warfare, p. 49- 



showed that these makeshift igniters were not reliable. The AAF then 
asked the CWS to design an igniter that would function at least 90 per- 
cent of the time, and would be so small that it would not change the 
streamlined shape of the tank. 47 

After considerable work, including the standardization of an igniter 
that later proved unsatisfactory, engineers devised two fairly reliable de- 
vices. One was inserted into the tank through the gasoline cap, the other 
was fastened to the tail. To make doubly certain that the fire bomb would 
burn, both types could be attached. Spontaneouly ignitable white phos- 
phorus was the filling for use on land, sodium for targets on water. 48 

Fire bombs were employed on a variety of missions in the theaters 
from mid-1943 onward. At Tinian, low-flying P-47's dropped wing and 
belly tanks, generally filled with an oil-gasoline mixture since napalm was 
still scarce, on beaches as a preliminary to marine landings, and on over- 
grown areas to burn away foliage concealing enemy installations. 49 On 
Luzon, fire bombs proved to be "one of the most effective implements 
of aerial-delivered destruction," in burning off wide areas of vegetation, 
and in setting fire to enemy held villages. 50 A 165-gallon fire bomb hold- 
ing approximately 960 pounds of thickened gasoline could burn off vege- 
tation in an oval-shaped area 300 feet long and 100 feet wide. In Europe 
the XIX Tactical Air Command used fire bombs effectively in attacks on 
deep shelters because of their effect on ventilating systems, and in strikes 
against gun positions where intense heat impaired or destroyed enemy 
artillery. 51 

Fire bombs were made in many sizes, from small tanks holding 30 
gallons up to tanks of 300-gallon capacity. In Europe the most popular 
sizes were 100, 108, and 110 gallons; in the Pacific 150 and 165 gallons. 
All together, the AAF dropped more than 12,000 fire bombs over Europe, 
while Army, Navy, and Marine planes in the Pacific employed twice that 
number against the Japanese. 52 

47 Gaul and Fin ke I stein, Incendiaries, pp. 550-83. 

48 (1) Tests of the AN-M52A1 and AN-M52XA1 Bombs, Modified as Igniters (El and 
E1R1) for Droppable Fuel Tanks. TDMR 1172, 9 Nov 45. (2) Development of Fuze Adapters 
and Bursters for the Igniter, Incendiary Gasoline Tank. TDMR 1089, 13 Aug 45. (3) CWTC 
Item 1174, Standardization of Igniters, M15 & Ml 6, 11 Jan 45. 

49 Hoffman, The Seizure of Tinian, pp, 34-35, 37. 

50 Maj Charles W. Boggs, Jr., "Marine Corps Monographs," Marine Aviation in the Philip- 
pines (Washington, 1951), p. 92. 

51 After Action Rpt, Third U.S. Army, 1 Aug 44-9 May 45. vol. 1, an. 3, p. 2. 

52 Chemical Warfare Service in World War II, p. 75. 



The Six-Pound Oil Bombs 

The incendiary bomb most widely used against Japan was a 6-pounder. 
The NDRC conceived the idea for the bomb in 1941 after European air 
raids had proven the effectiveness of small incendiaries. Since magnesium 
was scarce, the NDRC contracted with the Standard Oil Development 
Company for a steel-cased bomb filled with thickened gasoline. 53 

The new bomb differed in principle from standard and experimental 
CWS munitions. Instead of burning where it landed, like the 4-pound 
magnesium bomb, or bursting and scattering its contents over a wide 
area, like the 100-pound bomb, the missile acted like a small mortar, 
ejecting a single blob of filling a distance of several yards. To achieve 
this, engineers devised a radical design. Inside the bomb at the forward 
end they put the fuze, followed by a small powder charge to eject and 
ignite the filling, then the filling of jellied gasoline contained in a cheese- 
cloth sack, and finally, at the base, tail streamers. When the missile came 
to rest in the attic of a building, for example, the powder blew the 
filling out of the bomb. The filling hit the underside of the roof, stuck 
there, and burned. 

An innovation in this bomb was the design of the stabilizers. Instead 
of metal fins the tail consisted of cloth ribbons. These saved weight and 
space (the ribbons were folded in the base of the bomb and were un- 
folded by the airstream). Also, because of air resistance, they kept the 
bomb from dropping too fast and penetrating too deeply. The ideal veloc- 
ity would be just enough for the bomb to break its way through a roof 
and come to rest on the rafters. 

Designers started off by modeling bombs of different sizes, but after 
tests, including "raids" against abandoned buildings at Jefferson Proving 
Ground, demonstrated the superiority of the 6-pound bomb, they concen- 
trated on it. The cornpleted bomb was approximately a foot and a half 
long, hexagonal in cross section, and about three inches thick. The service 
standardized it as the M69 in 1942, less than a year after the project 
began, and started production in November. 54 

Several flaws showed up in proofing carried out with samples from 
the production line. Cloth tail ribbons could not stand the sudden pull 
as they snapped outward in mid-air, and they tore loose from bombs. 

53 (1) Noyes, Chemistry, pp. 389-96. (2) Fire Warfare, pp. 7-31. 

a * (1) CWTC Item 529, Standardization of 6-lb Oil Incendiary Bomb and 500-Pound Cluster 
Adapter, 4 Aug 42. (2) CWTC Item 570, same title, 29 Sep 42. (3) CWTC Item 621, Redesig- 
nation of Bomb, Incendiary, Oil, 6-lb, M56, 24 Nov 42. (4) TM 9-1980, Nov 44. 



Fuzes did not always function, and fillings did not always ignite. After 
these weak points were corrected, more than 90 percent of the bombs 
caught fire when they landed. 55 

Originally, M69's were dropped in quick-opening clusters, similar to 
the clusters used for small magnesium bombs. All went well until aimable 
clusters appeared in 1943. These, since they were streamlined and released 
from high altitudes, attained considerable velocity by the time they opened. 
Tail ribbons on the bombs unfolded with a terrific jerk, tearing the cloth 
or snapping ribbons completely off the missiles. Apparently all that 
had to be done was to find sturdier cloth and a stronger method of at- 
tachment. Actually engineers had considerable difficulty finding cloth strong 
enough to stand the strain, yet light enough not to unbalance falling 
bombs. Then, after finding suitable cloth, the CWS was not able to pro- 
cure all it needed. The problem continued throughout the war, forcing 
the CWS to make several modifications in the ribbon retaining mechan- 
ism and in the ribbons themselves. 

Supplies of M69 bombs became available in 1943, at a time when the 
AAF was giving thought to the strategic bombing of Japan. Many be- 
lieved that incendiaries would be highly effective against the wooden 
structures in Japanese cities. The Air Forces already knew something of 
what British and American incendiaries could do in Europe. Could that 
experience be measured and tested for use against Japan? New incendiary 
munitions had been under development. What was the best incendiary 
for the new mission? 

These questions were answered in bombing "raids" against industrial- 
type buildings at Edgewood, against a simulated Japanese village constructed 
by the AAF at Eglin Field, and in the successive razing and rebuilding 
of a composite German-Japanese village at Dugway. Among the points 
that had to be determined was the degree of penetration of bombs, and 
the time-temperature factor for igniting the typical Japanese target. 

These large-scale, costly field tests demonstrated the merits and defects 
of different bombs, and indicated that the M69 would be effective. The 
missile wobbled and therefore was not always accurate, but its inaccuracy 
turned out to be of little moment in the low altitude, large area bombing 
later carried out over Japan. 

The great air campaign against the Japanese islands began in November 

5S (1) Report of Activities of the Technical Division, p. 98. (2) Gaul and Finkelstein, In- 
cendiaries, pp. 402-06. (3) Capt Roman L. Ortynsky, Tests of M69 Bombs at Huntsville Arsenal, 
February 4-9, 1943. TDMR 576, 17 Feb 43. 



1944, taking the form of high altitude precision bombing with HE bombs. 
At first incendiaries were dropped only in inconsequential numbers. Then 
on 25 Februrary 1945 the XXI Bomber Command changed its bombs and 
hit Tokyo with more than 400 tons of M69's. Photos from reconnaissance 
flights showed that approximately a square mile of the urban area had 
been destroyed or damaged. This marked the turning point in bombing 
tactics. Maj. Gen. Curtis LeMay adopted the policy of low level area bomb- 
ing with incendiaries. On the evening of March 9, more than 300 superforts 
swarmed over Tokyo, dropping about two thousand tons of incendiaries, 
f mostly clusters of M69's. Photographs indicated that almost 16 square 
miles of the city had been burned out. Tokyo police records, examined 
after the war, showed that more than one-quarter of a million buildings 
were destroyed— about one-fourth of the total in Tokyo. It was the most 
devastating fire raid of the war up to that time. Before representatives of 
Japan appeared on board the USS Missouri, AAF bombers had dropped 
more than one hundred thousand tons of incendiaries on Japan, most of 
them M69's. The tremendous destruction wrought in the Orient showed 
how accurate had been the foresight of those who planned this bomb four 
years earlier. 56 

Incendiary Oddities 

The incendiary bombs just discussed include those important in opera- 
tions; yet they represent only a minor proportion of the aerial incendiaries 
that the CWS worked on during the war. By itself or in co-operation 
with the NDRC, under its own initiative or upon request from other 
branches of the armed forces, the CWS undertook the development of 
many other incendiary bombs. Some went part way through the develop- 
ment cycle, others proceeded all the way to standardization. 

An example of a munition that was standardized but never employed 
is the incendiary leaf, developed in 1941^2 by the CWS and the Celanese 
Corporation of America. It was intended for dry grain fields, forests, 
thatched roofs, and other targets that would burn easily. As with the 
4-pound magnesium bomb, the idea came from the British. Leaves were 
made in the form of disks, eight inches in diameter, one-fourth of an inch 
thick, and composed of pyroxylin. One type had pellets of white phos- 
phorus attached to it, embedded in a putty-like material. When containers 

56 (1) Craven and Cate, The Pacific: Matterhorn to Nagasaki, chs. 18, 20, 21, 23. (2) Chem- 
ical Warfare Service in World War II, p. 74. 



of leaves were dropped, they opened in mid-air and the leaves spun to 
the ground. The sun dried and cracked the covering material, permitting 
air to ignite the phosphorus and this, in turn, the leaf. Another type was 
coated with a friction sensitive chemical. These were stored and dropped 
in containers filled with a desensitizing fluid. The containers opened, the 
leaves whirled away, and the liquid evaporated. On striking an object of 
any kind, the leaf burst into flame. The CWS standardized these incendi- 
aries, but when intelligence reports indicated that leaves dropped by the 
British on Germany had caused little, if any, damage, the service abandoned 
the munition. 57 

One example of an incendiary that seemed useful in the planning 
stage, but proved unnecessary after it was developed and tested, was a 
device to ignite oil slicks on water. In September 1942 the Navy Bureau 
of Ordnance asked the CWS to devise such a munition. The service modified 
existing incendiary bombs for the job, and also tried containers filled with 
calcium carbide (carbide reacts with water, producing acetylene which 
catches fire from the heat of reaction). 

The NDRC took a different approach and designed the city slicker. 
This was a container filled with small cardboard cartons, each carton 
holding an incendiary mixture, chiefly magnesium dust and a bag of 
calcium carbide. Dropped from a bomber, the container opened and spilled 
the cartons into the air. When they landed water entered through holes, 
was heated by reaction of the carbide, and then acted on the incendiary 

Tests finally showed that the standard, 100-pound incendiary bomb 
filled with thickened gasoline and fitted with a sodium burster ignited 
oil slicks with fair regularity. An additional advantage of using this bomb 
was that industry would not have to produce oil slick igniters and the 
armed forces would have one less munition to clutter up supply channels. 
Engineers therefore stopped work on oil slick igniters and turned to other 
projects. 58 

While the incendiary leaf and city slicker were unusual, they were 
no match in this respect for the bat incendiary. This bomb was con- 
ceived on the day the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. Lytic S. Adams, a 
dental surgeon from Pennsylvania, was returning from a visit to Carlsbad 

57 (1) James S. Carson, WP Incendiary Bomb M2 (Leaf). TDMR 482, 17 Dec 42. (2) Red 
Phosphorus Incendiary Bomb Ml (Leaf). TDMR 484, 23 Dec 42. (3) CWTC Item 354, Bomb, 
Incendiary, Leaf, 22 Jul 41. (4) CWTC Item 598, Withdrawal of Military Requirement for 
Incendiary Leaves, 24 Nov 42. 

58 Capt Roman L. Ortynsky, Ignition of Oil Slicks on Water. TDMR 814, 4 Mar 44. 



Caverns when news of the attack came over his car radio. The thought 
flashed through his mind that the millions of bats in American caves might 
be fitted with incendiary bombs and dropped on Japan. He drove back to 
Carlsbad, captured some bats for tests, ransacked libraries for data on the 
subject, and in January sent his proposal to the White House. President 
Roosevelt OK'd it, and the project was on. 

Adams and his search teams drove hundreds of thousands of miles, 
traveling day and night, to explore bat caves. In their yearlong survey 
they found America's largest colony, estimated at between 20 and 30 mil- 
lion bats, in Ney Cave, Texas. In 1943 the CWS and NDRC began to 
design an incendiary weighing less than an ounce for attachment to bats. 
The finished product was an oblong, nitrocellulose case filled with thick- 
ened kerosene and carrying a delayed-action igniter. Two sizes were made, 
the larger capable of burning for six minutes, the smaller for four. A 
bomb was attached to the loose skin on the bat's chest by a surgical clip 
and a piece of string. When released from a container that opened auto- 
matically in mid-air, bats were supposed to fly into hiding in dwelling 
and other structures, gnaw through the string, and leave the bombs behind. 

All sorts of complications arose to slow the project. Bats were cooled 
to force them to hibernate. They could then be handled and transported 
and not have to be fed (a bat can eat many times its own weight of 
insects each day). But artificial cooling was tricky business, and in early 
attempts the bats did not wake. up. After this problem was solved and 
bats were taken aloft for test flights, many failed to co-operate and either 
flew away or else dropped to earth like stones. Some bats got loose from 
a careless handler and set fire to a hangar and to a general's automobile. 

The Army gave up the project to the Navy, which passed it along to 
the Marine Corps. All this experimentation took time, and in 1944 when 
the Chief of Naval Operations found that bats would not be ready for 
combat until mid-1945 he canceled the project. So ended the most extra- 
ordinary incendiary bomb of the war, leaving those who were acquainted 
with it to wonder what would have happened if bomber bats had been 
released over Japan. 59 

Less weird than the bat incendiary was the butane bomb. It was well 
known that mixtures of hydrocarbon vapors and air would explode under 

59 (1) Robert Sherrod, History of Marine Corps Aviation in World War 11 (Washington: 
Combat Forces Press, 1952), p. 129. (2) Charles E. Mohr, "Texas Bat Caves Served in Three 
Wars," National Speleological Society Bulletin no. 10 (April 1948), pp. 89-93. (3) Cap t Wiley 
W, Carr, Live Carriers for Small Incendiaries. ETF 180-27, 8 Jun 43. 



certain conditions if touched by a flame. A number of serious industrial 
accidents had been traced to the presence of such explosive mixtures. At 
New London, Tex., 18 March 1937, almost 300 children were killed in a 
school when natural gas leaked into the air and exploded. 

After war broke out the CWS considered the possibility of using butane 
and similar hydrocarbons as incendiary agents or explosives. Theoretically, 
bombs filled with butane would burst and the gas would escape into the 
air, forming an explosive mixture. Finally a board of officers studied the 
technical difficulties in the way of using butane in bombs. After it con- 
cluded that butane offered "no advantage over current standard explosive 
and incendiary agents," the matter seemed to be settled. Nevertheless in 
July 1944 Lt. Gen. Brehon B. Somervell ordered the CWS to investigate 
the usefulness of explosive hydrocarbon mixtures as fillings for bombs 
and other munitions. A few months later the AAF added its voice to 
Somervell's. Although the CWS was aware that butane munitions were 
impractical, it had no choice but to assign men to the project. Engineers 
detonated butane "bombs" statically at Edgewood, and then dropped actual 
bombs on Japanese-type fortifications at Dugway. These tests convinced 
the Army and AAF that while mixtures of butane and air would explode 
quite handily under laboratory conditions, it was impossible to get a vigor- 
ous explosion in the field because of such uncontrollable factors as wind 
velocity, air temperature, ignition time, point of impact of the bomb, and 
type of target. The CWS dropped the project without any further object- 
ion from the Army or AAF. 60 

An incendiary of an entirely different kind from those that have been 
mentioned was the Weary Willie. By the end of 1944 the AAF had a 
number of worn-out aircraft that could no longer be used safely in com- 
bat. Someone came up with the idea that these planes might be loaded 
with explosives or incendiaries and flown by remote control over important 
targets in enemy territory. The Army handed the CWS the problem of 
determining the most effective incendiary cargo for these Weary Willies 
or remote controlled bombs. 

At Edgewood, engineers tried to figure out the best payload by stack- 
ing different kinds and sizes of incendiary bombs as they would be piled 
inside the planes, and igniting them. This method of testing did not 
work out very well because engineers could not duplicate the conditions 
under which bombs would be used. The service laid plans for simulated 

60 Capt R. E. Bolgiano, Development of an Inflammable Gas Bomb. TDMR 1136, 24 Sep 45. 



bombing raids, but before they could be carried out the AAF dropped 
the idea of employing Weary Willies. 61 

In addition to the aerial incendiaries discussed above, the CWS worked 
on 3-pound, 6-pound, 25-pound, 30-pound, and 40-pound bombs; a 2-pound 
bomb with a plastic case; the 2-pound magnesium bomb, AN-M52, 
abandoned because of poor ballistic properties; and the 10-pound M74, 
produced too late in the war for wide use. The reason that so many 
models were designed and then discarded somewhere along the develop- 
ment line is that incendiary bombs, as a means of mass destruction, were 
new in World War II and the necessary characteristics were not well 
defined. The CWS, Ordnance Department, and AAF learned what physi- 
cal and incendiary properties were required in a satisfactory bomb only as 
large-scale, expensive tests were completed at proving grounds, and as 
surveys of American bombing raids became available. Even when items 
were unsatisfactory the effort that went into them was not entirely wasted. 
From failures engineers and chemists got information that could be ap- 
plied to the development of successful munitions. 

Incendiary Grenades 

Second only to incendiary bombs in terms of wartime production were 
incendiary grenades. The CWS between 1942 and 1944 procured more 
than eight million which were employed wherever American troops saw 
action. 62 

The standard grenade, AN-M14, consisted of a round tin can, of the 
same type used for smoke grenades, loaded with a thermite mixture. It 
was born in late 1940 when the Infantry and Engineers asked for a muni- 
tion that could destroy enemy materiel or American equipment on the 
verge of capture. Ordnance engineers designed the grenade body while 
CWS chemists developed the filling. 63 

What the users wanted was a munition that could burn through crank- 
cases, cylinder heads, and transmission cases; fuse breech mechanisms be- 
yond repair; ruin the rifling of large cannon; weaken bridge girders and 
steel rails; and burn through armor plate on tanks. But it was not pos- 

61 (1) CWTC Item 1270, Military Requirement and Military Characteristics for Incendiary 
for Remote Controlled Bombs, 22 Mar 45. (2) CWTC Item 1439, Cancellation of Projects in 
CWS Project Program for 1945, 2 Aug 45. 

62 Crawford, Cook, and Whiting, Statistics, "Procurement," p. 21. 

63 Capt J. W, Gilbert, Development of Grenade, Incendiary, AN-M14. TDMR 1114, 22 
Aug 45. 



sible to design a grenade-size incendiary capable of doing all of these 
things because the small quantity of filling could not provide sufficient 
heat. What the Army got was a grenade containing about one and one- 
half pounds of a thermite-type mixture, able to fuse the breech of a 37-mm. 
gun, ruin the bore of 75-mm. guns and larger, and burn through quarter- 
inch steel plate. 

Production began in 1942. By 1943 there were so many AN-Ml4's 
on hand, and troops were using them so slowly, that the CWS stopped 
production and made no more for the remainder of the war. 

In the field, rangers carried these grenades on raids into enemy terri- 
tory. Infantrymen used them on trip wires to catch prowling Japanese at 
night, to destroy disabled American tanks, to ignite gasoline poured into 
enemy caves and fortified positions, and to signal after dark. While the 
AN-M14 was one of the grenades least employed, it served a useful pur- 
pose in special situations. 64 

The CWS investigated two other kinds of incendiary grenades, a burst- 
ing type and a frangible type. The bursting type, containing a small ex- 
plosive charge to scatter the burning incendiary mixture, did not go beyond 
the experimental stage. The frangible type, however, got more attention. 
These grenades, made from glass bottles filled with gasoline and carrying 
cloth wicks in the necks, came out of the Spanish Civil War. In action 
the soldier poured a bit of gasoline on the wick, touched it with a match, 
and threw the bottle. Upon impact the bottle burst and the gasoline 
went up in flames. 

Despite their crudeness, Molotov Cocktails, as they were called, could 
put tanks and mechanized vehicles out of action. In addition they could 
be produced quickly and easily. These factors led the CWS to investigate 
frangible grenades in 1941. 

Technicians first tried to improve the old Molotov Cocktail by making 
it self-igniting. To do this they added alcohol to the gasoline, and at- 
tached a tube of chromic anhydride to the bottle. When the bottle broke 
the gasoline was ignited by the reaction between the alcohol and anhy- 
dride. While this munition, standardized as frangible grenade (GA) Ml, 
worked satisfactorily, it was dangerous to produce, store, and ship. A 
bottle broken accidentally could start a fire that might destroy a plant, 

64 (1) "American Forces in Action Series," Small Unit Actions (Washington, 1946), pp. 
31-34. (2) H. M. Cole, The Lorraine Campaign, UNITED STATES ARMY IN WORLD WAR 
II (Washington, 1950), p. 386. (3) Maj John N. Rentz, "Marine Corps Monographs," Marines 
in the Centfal Solomons (Washington, 1952), p. 87. (4) "Klieg Lights in the Jungle," Chemical 
Warfare Bulletin 30 (Jun-Jul 44), p. 32. 



warehouse, or ship. No grenades of this type were ever stored or issued 
to troops and in 1943 the service discarded them. 65 

Next, engineers tried using ordinary railroad fusees as igniters, taping 
them to the grenades. In operation the soldier pulled a wire leading from 
the fusee to start it burning and then tossed the bottle. Although this 
type of igniter seemed safe, it would not flare up when wet and therefore 
had to be discarded. Finally engineers came up with a small igniter that 
fired a .38 caliber blank cartridge into the gasoline at the instant the 
bottle broke. This device remained standard on all frangible grenades. 66 

For grenade fillings the CWS had a range of flammable materials. An 
early mixture, copied from the British, contained carbon disulfide, white 
phosphorus, and rubber. This filling was spontaneously flammable and 
therefore hazardous in filling plants and storage depots. Within a few 
months the service discarded it and adopted gasoline thickened with napalm 
(NP) and isobutyl methacrylate (IM). 67 

The CWS turned out more than a half million frangible grenades 
mostly with IM fillings. They were hardly worth the trouble involved. 
When it came to dealing with enemy armored forces, American troops 
preferred antitank guns, bazookas, cannon, and other weapons. 

The Japanese had a "potato masher" or stick-type grenade consisting 
of a cylindrical body attached to a wooden handle. The filling was com- 
posed of white phosphorus, carbon disulfide, and pellets of rubber. Ger- 
many had two incendiary grenades. The frangible glass type contained 
gasoline. Two matches fastened to the bottle served as igniters. The metallic 
grenade, used to destroy equipment that might be captured, was a 1-kilo- 
gram incendiary bomb with the tail removed, and the bomb fuze replaced 
by a pull-igniter. The Germans and Japanese both found incendiary grenades 
useful items of special equipment. 68 

Incendiary Shells 

The CWS did its initial work on incendiary shells for the Navy, which 
wanted munitions that submarines, surface raiders, and regular naval ves- 

65 (1) CWTC Item 562, Standardization of Incendiary Filled Frangible Grenades, 29 Sep 42. 
(2) CWTC Item 609, same title, 24 Nov 42. (3) CWTC Item 746, Obsoletion of Grenade, 
Frangible, Ml, 11 Jun 43. 

66 (1) CWTC Item 692, Obsoletion of Grenade, Frangible, Ml, 23 Apr 43. (2) CWTC 
Item 746. (3) CWTC Item 737, Standardization of Igniter, Frangible Grenade, M3, 11 Jun 43. 

6T (1) CWTC Item 692. (2) CWTC Item 746. (3) CWTC Item 902, Reclassification of 
Incendiary Fillings for Grenade, Frangible, Ml, 21 Jan 44. 

68 (1) Japanese Chemical Warfare. (2) German Chemical Warfare Materiel, pp. I-J-7, I-J-9. 



sels could use to burn junks, sampans, warehouses, barracks, and supply 
dumps. In early experiments CWS engineers tested base ejection shells 
filled with thickened gasoline and white phosphorus, but these missiles 
generally atomized the filling instead of ejecting it whole, and the men 
discarded the idea. 

They then turned to exploding-type shells filled with small incendiary 
canisters. Steel and magnesium canisters of different sizes containing a 
number of incendiary mixtures were tried. The experiments had to take 
into account the shell velocity, type of fuze, and construction. The large 
number of variables that had to be investigated slowed the work and it 
was many months before the service narrowed its choice to a 5-inch shell 
containing four cylindrical canisters, each filled with a special thermite mix- 
ture. The end of hostilities terminated this project. 69 

The AAF presented the service with a similar problem in 1944 when 
it asked for incendiary shells that 75-mm. aircraft cannon could fire at 
cargo vessels and fuel dumps. The CWS munitions experts started with 
base ejection shells containing small magnesium canisters. It was no easy 
matter to find an incendiary filling suitable for the canisters. Nor was it 
easy to design canisters that could be blown from a 75-mm. shell, ignite, 
and set fire to the target. To complicate matters still more the capacity 
of 75-mm. shells was so small that the shells were not effective unless 
they landed in a highly flammable area and then functioned perfectly. 
All these obstacles blocked progress during 1944. Finally in 1945 it became 
evident that the project was impractical, and it was canceled. 70 

Like the Navy and AAF, the CWS itself had thought of using incen- 
diary shells. White phosphorus mortar shells, normally employed for 
laying down smoke or causing casualties, could start fires under favorable 
conditions. For example, dry hay or leaves might be ignited. But WP 
would not ordinarily set fire to wooden structures. 

In 1943 the service set out to develop base-ejection incendiary shells, 
then canceled the project in 1944 when a survey of the theaters of opera- 
tion showed that only the CBI had use for such a munition. Later that 
year the ETO changed its mind, and in January 1945 the service resumed 
the project. By V-J Day development had reached the point where the 

69 (1) Gaul and Finkelstein, Incendiaries, pp. 647-65. (2) Capt J. H. Hayes and Capt E. R. 
Marshall, 5-Inch Navy Shell. TDMR 1112, 26 Sep 45. 

70 (1) Capt Julius Kovitz, Development of 75-mm. Base Ejection Incendiary Shell, T-34. 
TDMR 1190, 13 Dec 45. (2) CWTC Item 1439, Cancellation of Projects in CWS Project Pro- 
gram for 1945, 2 Aug 45. 



Army authorized limited procurement of 4.2-inch mortar incendiary shells 
for field tests. 71 

American forces did not press for incendiary shells because they were 
useful only in special situations. This occasional usefulness had to be 
weighed against the inconvenience of another item in supply channels. 
Furthermore, white phosphorus ammunition served the purpose of in- 
cendiary ammunition where the target was easy to ignite. 

If we can judge by the variety of incendiary shells in the German 
and Japanese armies, both these nations placed a higher value on them. 
The Japanese army had incendiary 75-mm. artillery and 90-mm. mortar 
shells filled with white phosphorus, carbon disulfide, and rubber pellets. 
This mixture was the same as the one used in Japanese incendiary bombs. 
The Navy employed a 12-cm. antiaircraft shell loaded with steel pellets 
filled with white phosphorus. When this shell exploded the pellets streaked 
through the air and caught fire. 72 

Among German incendiary munitions were 50-mm., 100-mm., and 
105 -mm. shells containing high explosive and thermite. They were felt to 
be particularly effective against tanks. An 88-mm. antiaircraft shell was 
reminiscent of the Japanese AA shell in containing a number of small 
incendiary slugs. It was more spectacular as a fireworks display than as 
a munition for shooting down planes. 73 

Incendiary Rockets 

In addition to incendiary bombs, grenades, and shells, the CWS worked 
with incendiary rockets. Rocket research, to determine if the munitions 
would be suitable for toxic fillings, was first undertaken for the service 
by the NDRC in 1941. Incendiary fillings became the subject of CWS 
experimentation two years later, with the Ordnance Department and Navy 
co-operating in the design of rocket bodies and mortars. 

In 1943 the CWS began to develop a 2.36-inch incendiary rocket for 
the bazooka. Chemists filled shells with various thermite and PT mix- 
tures and tested them. The missiles were not stable ballistically, and the 
fuel would not always ignite upon impact. While these problems might 
eventually have been solved, there was another obstacle that proved in- 
surmountable. The rocket cavity held so little filling that it was practically 

. V 

71 (1) Gaul and Finkelstein, Incendiaries, pp. 665-75. (2) Lt Oren E. Ross, 4.2-Inch Chem- 
ical Mortar Shell, Incendiary, E66R3. TDMR 1218, 5 Mar 46. 

72 (1) Tactical and Technical Trends, no. 22, 8 Apr 43, p. 17. (2) Japanese Chemical 

73 German Chemical Warfare Materiel, p. I-H. 



useless in starting fires. The CWS gave up, and thereafter worked with 
larger missiles. 74 

A much more suitable rocket, from the viewpoint of quantity of fill- 
ing, was an 8-inch missile that the service devised by adding a rocket 
motor to the tail of the Ordnance AN-M30 30-pound bomb. Loaded 
with PT fuel, this rocket could range up to 600 yards. When it landed 
a burster igniter broke open the casing and scattered burning fuel over a 
radius of sixty yards. 75 

In similar fashion the CWS and Ordnance Department Rocket Re- 
search Division evolved an incendiary rocket from the AN-M57 250-pound 
general purpose bomb. With three rocket motors attached to the base, 
the bomb would fly almost half a mile. Containing eighty pounds of PT 
fuel, this was the largest experimental rocket worked on by the service. 76 

The development of incendiary rockets for the Army proceeded slowly 
until the autumn of 1944, because none of the theaters or branches of 
the armed services set up a military requirement for the munition. Then 
a joint Army-Navy testing and experimental board asked for one hundred 
7.2-inch incendiary rockets for trial. This became a joint project of the 
Ordnance Department and CWS, with the latter filling the rocket with 
incendiary fuel and fitting it for bursting and ignition. The rocket head 
held about twenty pounds of PT fuel, a quantity shown by test to be ade- 
quate for starting fires. This rocket was never standardized, but the CWS 
would have considered it satisfactory for use as a standard munition if the 
need for such a rocket had arisen. 77 

The Navy was more interested than the Army in incendiary rockets. 
In 1943 it considered the possibility of firing 3.5-inch incendiary rockets 
from LCT's during amphibious operations. Engineers at CWS carried out 
experiments that indicated rockets of this size, like the 2.36-inch bazooka 
rocket, could not hold sufficient incendiary filling. The Navy turned to 
the 4.5-inch rocket, with the thought that it might be used to burn light 
structures, such as nipa shacks, in the Pacific. Rockets of this size filled 
with PT fuel and fitted with an HE burster and WP igniter satisfied the 
requirements set up by the Navy. The end of the war cut off the develop- 
ment of 4.5-inch rockets at the service test stage. 78 

74 J. J. Jungbauer, Development of the 2.36-inch Chemical Rockets. TDMR 850, 24 Jun 44. 

75 R. E. Bolgiano, Development of 8-in. Incendiary Rocket E2. TDMR 893, 25 Sep 44. 

76 R. L. Ortynsky, Development of 11-in. Incendiary Rocket, E33. TDMR 1101, 21 Aug 45. 

77 R. E. Bolgiano, Development of 7.2-in. Incendiary Rocket Head E27. TDMR 1146, 16 
Oct 45. 

7R (1) R. E. Bolgiano, Tests of the 3.5-inch Incendiary Rocket Mk 11. TDMR 1184, 28 Nov. 
45. (2) R. E. Bolgiano, Test of the 4.5-inch Incendiary Rocket Mk 9. TDMR 1161, 2 Nov 45. 



The development of incendiary rockets proceeded slowly because the 
Army did not ask for them and the Navy was only mildly interested. 
Without a definite military requirement, the CWS was not justified in 
diverting men and funds from crucial projects. The work done was explor- 
atory in nature, and served to give engineers experience that would have 
been useful if theaters of operations had suddenly requested incendiary 
rockets to place beside HE rockets. 

In World War II the Chemical Warfare Service's greatest stride was 
in the field of incendiaries. During the period from 1941 to 1945, all its 
standard bombs and grenades, experimental shells and rockets, sprang 
forth. The service procured more incendiary bombs than any other single 
item, and it spent more money and employed more manpower on in- 
cendiaries than on an any other item of supply. 



At Algiers, Bizerte, Naples, and other Mediterranean cities during 
World War II German bombers flew over harbors intent on blowing 
Allied shipping out of the water. In all but a relatively few instances 
they found nothing but an impenetrable haze covering the targets. On 
New Guinea and Luzon American paratroopers dropped safely to earth 
protected from bullets of Japanese riflemen by screens of white smoke. 
At beachheads, highways, and river crossings in Italy, France, and Ger- 
many, troops and trucks went about their work under a shield of arti- 
ficial fog. Never before had armies been able to protect their troops and 
hide their movements as successfully as Allied forces did in World War II. 

Military history records the tactical use of smoke in early times, but 
reliable smoke munitions are of fairly recent origin. Not until World 
War I did armies develop standard munitions and give them a wide trial. 
The British Army produced grenades and shells containing white phos- 
phorus that emitted white smoke, and carbonaceous mixtures that gave 
off black smoke. The German Army, lacking phosphorus, depended on 
oleum, chlorosulfonic acid, and sulphur trioxide, all of which reacted with 
moisture in the air to form white fog. The French contributed Berger 
mixture, which threw off a gray smoke when heated. The American Army 
designed grenades, shells, candles, pots, and other munitions based on 
European originals, but did not get them to the battle zone in time for 
use. From the smoke munitions of World War I evolved most of the 
efficient screening devices used by friend and foe in World War II. 

White Phosphorus 

White phosphorus (CWS symbol, WP) is a soft waxy substance that 
reacts spontaneously with oxygen. When phosphorus is scattered from a 
bursting munition the heat of the explosion causes the phosphorus to 



Smoke Pots Being Set Off in the Argonne Forest, near Beaucamp, 
Meuse, France, October 1918. 

ignite as soon as exposed to air and throw off a dense white smoke of 
phosphorus pentoxide. The material WP was unsurpassed as a smoke 
producer and it also paid dividends in other ways. Burning phosphorus 
wounded enemy soldiers just as readily as rifle bullets and shell frag- 
ments. Fragments of burning phosphorus streaking through the air were 
also hard on enemy morale. For these reasons the CWS purchased two 
hundred million pounds of WP from 1942 to 1945, far more than any 
other smoke agent obtained during the war. 1 

The CWS used white phosphorus as a filling for shells, rockets, bombs, 
and grenades, all of which the armed forces employed extensively in World 
War II. Artillery and chemical mortar companies hurled shells to set fire 
to enemy held buildings and cane fields, to drive enemy soldiers from 
fortified positions, to unnerve enemy troops, to support infantry attacks, 
and to shield flame thrower operators. Naval vessels threw WP at shore 
installations on Saipan, Eniwetok, and other places to support amphibious 
assaults. The Army fired a sizable portion of the two and one-half mil- 
lion 2.36-inch rockets filled during the war to screen operations, to start 
fires, and to wound and unnerve the enemy. Airplanes dropped WP bombs 
on enemy installations to start fires or aid infantry. For infantrymen and 

1 Consolidated Chemical Commodity Report, p. 109. 



marines, the CWS filled more than five million hand grenades and two 
million rifle grenades with WP, and, as indicated earlier, the American 
phosphorus was considered by the Germans, who were in a good position 
to know, of superior quality. 2 

Despite its excellence as a smoke agent, WP had a fault that brought 
objections from the field early in World War II. The smoke had a ten- 
dency in still air to rise into a pillar instead of lingering close to the 
ground where infantrymen wanted it. Pillaring depended primarily on the 
size of phosphorus fragments. If the bursting charge of a munition shattered 
the solid phosphorus filling into extremely fine particles, a large reactive 
surface area was exposed to the air. The large surface allowed the phos- 
phorus to burn rapidly and in so doing give off a considerable quantity 
of heat which billowed the smoke upward. If, on the other hand, the 
explosion broke the phosphorus into a few large fragments, the exposed 
area was not nearly so great. The phosphorus then burned more slowly, 
emitted less heat, and the smoke hovered close to the ground. 

The CWS tried various expedients to keep the explosion from com- 
pletely shattering the phosphorus. In one experiment engineers stuffed 
wads of steel wool into a phosphorous shell to see if the network of 
steel threads would hold the phosphorus in chunks. In other tests they 
poured melted phosphorus into metal and paper tubes, and packed these 
tubes inside shells. None of the experimental shells was entirely successful 
and the problem remained unsolved until 1944 when the NDRC Muni- 
tions Development Laboratory at the University of Illinois devised a new 
filling consisting of small granules of phosphorus, about the size of grains 
of sand, suspended in a matrix of rubber. Explosion broke this filling, 
called plasticized white phosphorus, PWP, into chunks several millimeters 
in diameter that burned slowly for several minutes. Munitions loaded 
with PWP raised a better smoke screen than ordinary phosphorus muni- 
tions. Furthermore, the phosphorus, being in large pieces, was more effec- 
tive against enemy troops. Although PWP was not completely satisfactory, 
since the phosphorus slowly separated from rubber in storage during hot 
weather, it was the best solution devised during the war. 3 

2 (2) See Pritchard, Kleber, and Birdsell. [Chemicals in CombatJ a volume in preparation for 
the series UNITED STATES ARMY IN WORLD WAR II. (2) CWS Report of Production, 1 
Jan 40 through 31 Dec 45, pp. 14, 15, 26. (3) Ochsner, History of German Chemical Warfare 
in World War II, p. 33. 

:t (1) Benjamin C. Macintire, Navy 5-inch Smoke Projectile, WP-Filled, Engineering Tests. 
EATR 338, 8 Apr 41. (2) H. F. Johnston, Plasticized White Phosphorus, in Military Problems 
with Aerosols and Nonpersistent Gases. Summary Tech Rpt of Div 10, NDRC (Washington, 
1946). (3) Noyes, Chemistry, pp. 277-78. (4) CWTC Item 1514, Standardization of Screening 
Smoke, PWP, 20 Dec 45. 



The CWS produced a few hundred experimental 7 5 -mm., 105-mm., and 
155-mm. PWP shells in late 1944. The following year plants got into 
production and turned out 891,941 pounds of PWP. The service loaded 
this into mortar shells, recoilless mortar shells, bombs, and 3.5-inch and 
4.5-inch rockets, but these appeared when the curtain was falling on the 
last act of the war and they were practically unknown to the fighting man. 4 

In contrast to the Americans and the British, the Germans did not have 
phosphorus ammunition. Germany lacked the raw materials for producing 
phosphorus, and its Army had to depend on less effective Berger mix- 
ture, described below, and on oleum. Grenades and smoke pots generally 
took a Berger-type filling, while mortar smoke ammunition, artillery 
smoke ammunition, and smoke rockets contained pumice saturated with 
oleum. The Japanese had a wide range of WP bombs, mortar shells, 
artillery shells, and grenades, but they used WP much less than the Ameri- 
cans did. 5 

Smoke Pots 

Along with the first wide-scale use of white phosphorus as a smoke 
producer, World War I saw the invention of a new type of smoke agent, 
Berger mixture, by Capt. Ernest E. F. Berger of the French Army. The 
mixture, containing carbon tetrachloride, powdered zinc, and zinc oxide, 
was inert at normal temperatures, but when it was heated the ingredients 
reacted and gave off a dense gray smoke of carbon and zinc chloride 
particles. 6 

In the United States CWS chemists experimented with Berger mixture 
during the 1920's and 1930's and replaced carbon tetrachloride, a liquid, 
with hexachloroethane, a solid, to decrease evaporation during storage. 
(From the name hexachloroethane came the symbol HC employed by 
the American Army in designating this type of smoke agent.) By 1940 
the service was using Type A HC containing hexachloroethane, zinc, am- 
monium chloride, and ammonium or potassium perchlorate, as a filling 
for smoke pots and other munitions. The fall of France cut off America's 
supply of imported perchlorate, and chemists began to search for sub- 
stitutes. They chose calcium silicide, which Captain Berger had suggested 

4 (1) Consolidated Chemical Commodity Report, p. 109- (2) CWS Report of Production, 1 
Jan 40 through 31 Dec 45, pp. 5, 14, 15, 26, 28, 29, 30. 

5 (1) German Chemical Warfare Materiel, passim. (2) Japanese Chemical Warfare, passim. 

6 (1) Lt Col J. E. Zanetti, Notice sur les Appareils Fumigeres Utillisant les Compositions du 
Capitaine Berger, Z-206, 19 Jun 18. (2) George A. Richter, "Combustion Smokes," Industrial 
and Engineering Chemistry, 13 (1921), 343-45. 



Smoke Screen Demonstration over the harbor, Palermo, Sicily. The screen was 
produced by mechanical smoke generators and smoke pots in thirteen minutes. 

back in World War I and which the British Army had adopted. The new 
mixture, designated as Type B HC, functioned satisfactorily but industrial 
firms had trouble producing it. They found that calcium silicide could 
be a dangerous material. When it was ground to a powder it reacted 
rapidly with oxygen in the air sometimes causing an explosion. Plants 
redesigned their equipment and took great precautions, but the danger 
led chemists to develop a safer mixture, Type C, containing grained alumi- 
num, hexachloroethane, and zinc oxide. Then came the threat of a short- 
age of hexachloroethane. Chemists had to develop a substitute mix, Type 
E, with carbon tetrachloride replacing hexachloroethane. Actually the 
shortage of hexachloroethane never matured and the CWS was able to 
procure all the Type C mix it wanted. Engineers discovered that the new 
Type E mix could be loaded into bombs more easily than the other types, 
however, and the CWS used it extensively as a filling for M77 ten-pound 
bombs, 7 

7 (1) Leo Finkelstein, "The Chemistry of HC Smoke Munitions," Armed Forces Chemical 
Journal, IV (October 1950), 16-18. (2) E. T. Lawrence, Development of HC Smoke Mixture. 
EACD 227, 3 Mar 25. (3) G. H. Mclncyre, "Ferro's War Story/ 1 Armed Forces Chemical Journal, 
II (October 1947), 12-15. (4) Capt J. H. Hayes and Lt L. C. Andrews, Smoke Munitions for 
Airborne Operations. TDMR 823, H Apr 44. 



With types A, B, C, and E HC mixtures, the CWS had a range of 
smoke agents suitable for hand grenades, rifle grenades, artillery shells, 
rockets, bombs, and smoke pots. Shells, grenades, and bombs found em- 
ployment during the war but by far the most widely used HC munition 
was the smoke pot. 

At the time of Pearl Harbor the CWS's standard smoke pot, Ml, was 
a cylindrical can 8 inches high and 5 inches in diameter, holding about 
10 pounds of HC. Fired by hand or electric current, it released a cloud 
of grayish white smoke for a period of 5 to 8 minutes. The service had 
devised this pot in the early 1930's as a munition for training exercises, 
but when war came it was the only munition of its type available and 
the American Army took it along to North Africa. 8 

Because they released smoke immediately, pots were useful in setting 
up a preliminary screen during the five or so minutes that it took large 
mechanical generators to warm up and start functioning. They helped 
shield harbors and installations on the coast of North Africa as well as 
at the harbors at Palermo, Licata, and Porto Empodocle on Sicily. 9 

Before the landings on Italy, troops employed smoke almost exclusively 
for harbor defense and only to a minor degree in amphibious operations. 
But at Salerno, where the enemy kept beaches under observation for two 
weeks, the Army used smoke along the shore to protect incoming land- 
ing craft from enemy bombers, machine guns, and artillery fire. The small 
size and light weight of pots enabled troops to carry them ashore and 
employ them until heavy, bulky, mechanical generators could be landed. 
After Salerno, smoking of invasion areas by army units and by naval sup- 
port boats became a standard practice on the coast of Europe and on 
Pacific islands. 10 

In Italy pots also graduated from harbor defense and invasion defense 
to forward area defense. Troops employed them to screen supply routes, 
bridge construction, river assault crossings, tanks, ammunition dumps, 
troop concentrations, ground operations, and even to hide mortar flash. As 
a result of the wide usage of pots under many conditions, the CWS 
learned of minor flaws in the design of the munition. Those that were 
opened in anticipation of combat could not be resealed tightly. Moisture 
from the "air crept under the lid, disintegrated the matchhead and rendered 

8 (1) TM 3-300, 13 Apr 42. (2) CWTC Item 943, Standardization of Pot, Smoke, HC MlAl, 
17 Mar 44. 

9 Paul W. Pritchard, Smoke Generator Operations in the Mediterranean and European Theaters, 
Chemical Corps Historical Studies No. 1, pp. 37-46, 

10 Pritchard, Kleber, and Birdsell, Chemicals in Combat. 



Small Ml Smoke Pots Set Off in a Series to maintain a screen for troops in 
the Gothic Line, Italy. 

the pots useless. Furthermore, handles protruding above the lids made it 
impossible to stack the pots. To overcome these defects engineers sub- 
stituted a flat screw-type lid without handles that could be resealed, and 
allow pots to be placed one on the other. The revised model bore the 
designation MlAl. 11 

In addition to these flaws, smoke pots at times proved to be smaller 
than troops desired. More men were required for maintaining a smoke 
screen with small pots than with large ones. In 1944 the CWS began to 
turn out pots holding three times as much HC, and burning twice as 
long. Almost a million large pots, designated as model M5, came from 
filling lines before the war ended. They did not reach Europe in appre- 
ciable quantities before V-E Day, and the original Ml, of which more 
than five million were produced, remained the workhorse of ground 
troops. 12 

11 (1) CWTC Item 943. (2) A photograph showing troops using type Ml pots to screen 
infantry crossing the Rapido River, Italy, may be found in The War Against Germany and Italy: 
Mediterranean and Adjacent Areas, UNITED STATES ARMY IN WORLD WAR II (Wash- 
ington, 1951), p. 227. 

12 (1) CWTC Item 926, Standardization of Pot, Smoke, 30-lb, HC, M5, 21 Jan 44. (2) 
Capt J. H. McLain and Lt E. R. Padavic, Pot, Smoke, HC, M5. TDMR 817, 24 Mar 44. (3) 
TB 3-300-1, HC Smoke Pot, M5, 27 May 44. (4) Crawford, Cook, and Whiting, Statistics, 
"Procurement," p. 23- 



Although HC was regarded as nontoxic as the other CWS screening 
agents (titanium tetrachloride, chlorosulfonic acid-sulphur trioxide, and 
white phosphorus), its use in troop training exercises showed that when 
breathed in a confined area it might produce fatalities through extreme 
lung irritation. The airborne particles of zinc chloride that were dispersed 
during the burning of HC were believed to be the only toxic element, 
until further tests revealed that hexachlorothane mixtures contaminated 
with ammonium chloride were even more lethal. Wearing the gas mask 
in HC smoke clouds provided adequate protection, and the Army changed 
manuals and other training literature accordingly. 13 

The German Army did not have as large a variety of HC-type smoke 
munitions as did American forces. Smoke bombs, grenades, and candles 
(analogous to U.S. pots) made up the list, and of these the infantrymen 
depended generally on the candle. Type 39 candle, a metal cylinder slightly 
over 5 inches in height and 3 inches in diameter, held sufficient HC-type 
mixture to burn for 4 to 7 minutes. Armored vehicles carried modified 
type 39 candles containing a mixture that burned more rapidly. Type 42 
candle, produced late in the war, was a much larger munition, burning 
for 20 to 25 minutes. 14 

The Germans had a variety of launchers capable of tossing smoke pots 
25 to 300 yards. These were first designed for armored vehicles. The orig- 
inal model was a bracket fastened to the side of the vehicle with 3 cups 
to hold candles. The device had to be loaded from the outside and was 
fired electrically, the candle being ignited and hurled about 25 yards by a 
charge of black powder. A later model resembled a miniature cannon. It 
was attached to a vehicle by a ring mount, and was loaded through the 
breech. Toward the end of the war, launchers for ground troops made 
their appearance. These were little more than crude mortars. The operator 
placed a powder charge in the bottom of the launcher barrel and then 
dropped an ignited smoke candle down the barrel, setting off a blast 
which threw the candle up to 300 yards. 15 

The German Army's use of smoke pots was not unlike that of the 
American Army. Troops used smoke to cover withdrawals, as at Metz, to 
screen troops and supply movements against observation and air attack, 
to permit tanks to disengage from the enemy, and to divert the enemy's 
attention and fire. As early as 1943 the production of smoke pots had 

13 Toxicological Research Laboratories. Informal Monthly Progress Report 2, 15 Jun 44. 

14 German Chemical Warfare, pp. 135-37. 

ir > (1) Ibid. (2) German Chemical Warfare Materiel, pp. l-K-6 - I-K-9. 



fallen behind the demand, and through the remainder of the war the Ger- 
man Army was unable to expend smoke with the same liberality as the 
American Army. 

The Japanese Army had among its munitions grenades, candles, bombs, 
and shells filled with Berger-type or HC smoke mixtures. For producing 
screens it favored candles, of which there were 3 major types: the self- 
propelled candle, the rifle-launched candle, and the stationary candle. The 
self-propelled candle held 1V2 pounds of smoke mix in one end and a 
propelling charge at the other capable of hurling the munition a distance 
of 130 to 300 yards, according to the angle at which it was fired. The 
rifle-launched candle was a cylinder 2 inches in diameter, 6 inches long, 
filled with smoke mix, and carrying from 45 to 200 yards, depending 
upon the adjustment of a heavy grenade launcher. Stationary candles came 
in 2 sizes, one holding 2 pounds of smoke agent, the other 7 times this 
quantity. 16 

While the Japanese gained considerable experience with smoke in their 
early campaigns against the Chinese, they made little use of it against 
American forces in the Pacific. Army and Navy raiding parties sometimes 
carried smoke grenades, ground troops on several occasions used smoke 
to confuse American air crews as to targets previously marked with smoke 
by American forces, and on Okinawa they screened local counterattacks 
and attempts at infiltration. The failure of the Japanese to make greater 
use of smoke screens in their tactics is surprising in view of the ample 
supplies of smoke munitions captured in Japanese ammunition dumps on 
Leyte, Luzon, and other islands. 

The Army and Navy needed floating smoke pots to screen amphibious 
forces from enemy observation posts and artillery fire. Harbor defense 
units needed floating pots to assist in maintaining smoke rings against 
enemy planes. For these reasons the CWS undertook the development of 
this type of munition in 1942. 

Engineers constructed the first experimental munitions from metal 
drums ballasted with concrete and loaded with HC. When tests proved 
these pots too heavy and difficult to handle, engineers simplified the de- 
sign by discarding the concrete and only partially loading the drums so 
they were bottom-heavy and floated upright. The final model, M4, was a 
5-gallon steel pail containing 26 pounds of smoke mix. To generate smoke 
the operator jerked a fuze wire extending through a hole in the lid and 

1G WD Intel Bull, Sep 45, pp. 78-84. 



Troops Landing at Elba, June 1944. Note HC floating smoke pot at left of the 

tossed the can into the water. The pail bobbed to the surface and poured 
out white smoke through vents in the lid for ten to fifteen minutes. 17 
When floating pots came off the production line and entered supply 
channels, the Army and Navy found fault with the design. If the muni- 
tion was handled roughly its HC filling crumbled, and the pot would 
not generate smoke. On several occasions firing mechanisms went off 
accidentally, igniting the pots and starting fires in warehouses, docks, and 
ships. To improve the munition, engineers placed a perforated, circular 
steel plate on top of the filling to hold it in place and devised a safer 
firing mechanism. The modified munition passed rough-handling tests 
satisfactorily and was standardized as the M4Al in July 1943- 18 

17 (1) CWTC Item 561, Standardization of Pot, Smoke, Floating, HC, M4, Military Require- 
ment and Military Characteristics, 29 Sep 42. (2) W. H. Flegenheimer, Development of a Floating 
Smoke Pot. TDMR 510, 6 Mar 43. 

18 (1) Capt J. H. McLain and Lt E. R. Padavic, Development of an Improved Floating Smoke 
Pot. TDMR 822, 5 Apr 44. (2) Ltr, Port Ord Office, Brooklyn, N.Y., to OC Ord, 22 Mar 43, 
sub: Malfunction of HC Floating Smoke Pot, M4. Cited in ref d, CWTC Item 725. (3) Ltr, CG 
Hawaiian Dept to Pres CW Board, 12 Apr 43, sub: Malfunctioning of Pots, Smoke, Floating, HC, 
M4. CWS 470.71. (4) CWTC Item 725, Standardization of Pot, Smoke, Floating, HC, M4A1, 
1 Jun 43. (5) CWTC Item 781, same title, 23 Jul 43. (6) TM 3-300, 1 Mar 44. 



The service found another source of trouble in the composition of the 
smoke mixture. Type B HC, the first filling used in floating pots, con- 
tained calcium silicide which could react with moisture in the atmosphere 
and generate hydrogen. Hydrogen and the air beneath the lid produced 
an explosive mixture. When the operator pulled the fuze wire the flame 
ignited the mixture, causing an explosion that sometimes blew the lid 
off the pot. As a precaution the CWS told operators to take off the lids 
and allow the hydrogen to escape before employing the smoke pots. This 
was inconvenient, particularly when a large number of pots had to be 
vented. The trouble was finally eliminated when chemists developed Type 
C HC to replace Type B. 19 

One other flaw in the floating pot was rather minor, yet it caused 
considerable annoyance to those who handled the munitions. The fuze 
stuck out from the center of the lid, preventing pots from being stacked 
in piles, and sometimes causing it to get knocked out of place. Engineers 
remedied this by lowering the fuze into a shallow well. This final model 
of the floating pot, designated as M4A2, was ready in March 1944. 20 

American forces used floating pots soon after they arrived in the Medi- 
terranean area. After the invasion of Sicily naval patrol boats helped 
maintain smoke screens surrounding the harbors at Licata and Porto 
Empedocle by means of floating pots. At Salerno support boats dropped 
floating pots to form a screen that would protect landing craft from ma- 
chine gun and artillery fire. The Third Army in its drive across France 
into Germany employed thousands of floating pots in assault river cross- 
ings, bridge construction, ferry operations, and other missions. The Ninth 
Army employed several thousand pots in crossing the Roer and Rhine 
rivers. Other armies set up floating screens whenever the occasion de- 
manded. Since floating pots functioned on land as well as on water, troops 
often employed them in place of standard land pots when supplies of the 
latter ran low. While the M4 floating pot did not have the all-around 
usefulness of Ml and M5 land pots, it was a valuable munition in cer- 
tain situations and it repaid the time and labor that went into its devel- 
opment and production. 21 

The German Army did not have floating munitions of the American 

39 (1) Lt H. Barnard, Pot, Smoke, Floating, HC, M4-Aluminum (Secondary), Zinc Oxide, 
Hexachloroethane Filling. TDMR 489, 19 Dec 42. (2) TM 3-300, 1 Mar 44. 

20 ( 1) McLain and Padavic. TDMR 822. (2) CWTC Item 934, Standardization of Pot, Smoke, 
Floating, HC, M4A2, 17 Mar 44. (3) TB 3-300-2. HC Floating Smoke Pot M4A2, 1 Jul 44. 

21 (1) Pritchard, Smoke Generator Operations, pp. 44, 53, 170-71, 184. (2) After Action 
Rpt, Third U.S. Army, 1 Aug 44-9 May 45, vol. II, pt. 11, p. 10. 



type which gave off smoke from a burning mixture, but they had a smoke 
float that generated white smoke by the action of water on fuming sul- 
phuric acid or oleum. The float was a drum about 30 inches high, a 
foot in diameter, weighing 40 pounds empty and 80 pounds loaded. An 
inner container held the oleum which reacted with water, and emitted 
smoke for 8 to 9 minutes. The disadvantage of this type of munition 
lay in the corrosive action of the acid. 22 

Japanese troops were supplied both with floating pots that produced 
smoke from a burning mixture, and with floating generators that pro- 
duced smoke by action of water. The Japanese floating pot, designed for 
use at sea or in rivers and harbors, was a long metal tube filled with 
eleven pounds of smoke mixture similar to the HC mixture used by the 
CWS. The novelty of the pot lay in the method of floatation. The pot 
fitted into a doughnut shaped, inflatable, rubber ring that held it upright 
and kept it from sinking to the bottom. 23 The generator was a steel 
drum about a foot in height and in diameter, weighing ninety pounds 
when filled with fuming sulphuric acid. An inflated rubber ring could 
be attached to the float to increase its buoyancy. A small device inside 
the lid contained a material that burned slowly, giving off considerable 
gas. This gas built up pressure in the drum and forced the acid up a 
pipe that protruded above the float. Upon contact with air the acid formed a 
dense white cloud. 24 

Japanese and German forces did not employ floating smoke pots as 
extensively as American troops did. Early in the war enemy troops ad- 
vanced and made amphibious landings without serious resistance, so that 
such aids as floating pots seemed unnecessary to them. Later as they 
retreated stubbornly and the American forces advanced, it was the Ameri- 
cans who used smoke pots to the best advantage. 

Oil Smoke Generators 

Smoke produced by the combustion of chemical mixtures was not the 
perfect answer to screening because mixtures were expensive, the smoke 
nauseated the troops, pots burned out in a short time, and many men 
were needed to maintain a large screen. On the other hand, it was easy 
and cheap to produce smoke by burning oil, and in 1941 the CWS stand- 

22 Tactical and Technical Trends, no. 23, 22 Apr 43, p. 7. 
^ WD Intel Bull, Jun 43, pp. 47-49. 
- 4 Japanese Chemical Warfare. 



ardized an oil burner for this purpose. The Stationary Oil Smoke Genera- 
tor, as the device was called, consisted of a sheet-iron pot about 2 feet 
in diameter and topped by a smokestack 3 feet high. The pot held about 
15 gallons of crude oil. When the oil was ignited a mixture of black 
carbon smoke and oil droplets raced up the chimney and billowed out 
into the air. The volume of smoke was about equal to that given off by 
the Ml pot. The generator functioned like the smudge pots used in 
the South, to help protect citrus groves against frost. The British had 
produced a considerable number of similar smoke generators for defense 
of their island, and this was one of the factors that led the CWS to 
adopt this device. 25 

A few months after Pearl Harbor the CWS organized smoke generator 
companies, equipped each company with 3,600 oil smoke generators, and 
stationed them at the Panama Canal, the Sault Ste. Marie Canal, and 
around aircraft factories on the west coast. The generators did not go 
outside the continental United States or the Canal Zone. In maneuvers 
troops found that the large, heavy generators could not be moved quickly 
when the wind changed direction. Furthermore, the black smoke that they 
emitted did not have the obscuring power of white smoke. These disad- 
vantages led the service to adopt a mechanical smoke generator in 1942 
and abandon the stationary generator in 1944. 26 

Mechanical smoke generators came into existence through the co-opera- 
tive efforts of industry, the National Defense Research Committee, and 
the CWS. The principle behind the device was simple. It vaporized a 
mixture of water and oil (the CWS used a special oil commonly referred 
to as fog oil), and then discharged the mixed vapors into the air. When 
the hot vapor hit the cool air it condensed back into tiny liquid droplets. 

Mechanical generators had many advantages over oil burning genera- 
tors. They produced smoke more rapidly and in larger quantity so that 
fewer men could screen a larger area. Their smoke was very persistent. 
By way of comparison, smoke from HC pots was seldom effective for 
more than 500 to 800 yards downwind, while smoke from mechanical 
generators extended for several miles. 

Development of the first mechanical generators took more than a year. 
In 1941 the CWS received reports from the British of the Haslar genera- 

23 (1) CWTC Item 357, Standardization of Generator, Oil, Smoke, Ml, 22 Jul 41. (2) CWTC 
Item 403, same title, 14 Oct 41. (3) Brooks F. Smith, Engineering Test of Kincaid Oil Smoke 
Generators. TDMR 265, Jan 41. 

2,1 (1) CWTC Item 1010, Obsoletion of Generator, Oil, Smoke, Ml, 5 May 44. (2) CWTC 
Item 1073, same title, 7 July 44. 

Mechanical SiMoke Generator Ml (100-Gallon) pouring out smoke screen 
to conceal Fifth Army operations from the Germans, Anzio area, Italy, March 1944. 



tor, a 14-ton, cumbersome monster that produced dirty brown smoke from 
fuel oil and water. The CWS undertook the development of a generator 
based on the Haslar. In the meantime the NDRC, which had established 
a project on smokes and niters in 1940, was making progress on a differ- 
ent kind of generator. Associated with the NDRC were Irving Langmuir 
of General Electric Co. and Victor La Mer of Columbia University. These 
men and their associates studied the size and color of particles in artificial 
fogs to find the properties of droplets essential for maximum screening 
ability. Their final determinations ended the search for the ideal properties 
of particle size and color. They began their analysis with the knowledge 
that the effect of a smoke screen on the eye was partly physiological, 
partly optical, and partly psychological. Light from the sun struck the 
smoke, some of it passing through untouched, the remainder scattering 
in all directions. A person trying to concentrate on a target saw not only 
light reflected from the target but also the scattered light. The intensity 
of the scattered light determined the effectiveness of the screen in con- 
fusing and disorting the image. In their experiments, Langmuir and La 
Mer found that white particles .3 micron in radius produced the proper 
scattering effect. 27 

Langmuir and his co-worker Vincent J. Schaefer then devised a small 
generator capable of producing fog particles of the desired size. The model 
turned out a smoke screen much thicker and more permanent than the 
screen from the current oil burning generator. Upon request from NDRC 
the Standard Oil Development Co, rushed a full-size generator to com- 
pletion in six weeks. In tests the generator performed so well that the 
CWS asked Esso to begin production at once. To obtain generators quickly, 
the CWS by-passed procedures generally followed in development, and 
engineers made last minute changes in design at the plant. In December 
1942 the service standardized the apparatus for military use. 28 

Mechanical Smoke Generator Ml stood six feet high, weighing 3,000 
pounds empty and 5,400 pounds filled. It had to be transported by a trailer, 
truck, or barge. At full capacity it consumed 100 gallons of fog oil, 7 gal- 
lons of fuel, and 150 gallons of water per hour. After starting, three to 

27 (1) Baxter, Scientists Against Time, pp. 283-86. (2) Military Problems with Aerosols and Non- 
persistent Gases. (3) Noyes, Chemistry, 278-81. 

- H (1) Invention Report of Aerosols: I. The Langmuir-Schaefer Smoke Generator, NDRC 
Division 10, Miscellaneous Pub. No. 270, 30 Apr 43. (2) W. H. Rodebush, V. K. La Mer, Irving 
Langmuir, and T. K. Sherwood, Screening Smokes. OSRD 940, 5 Oct 42. (3) CWTC Item 574, 
Standardization of Mechanical Smoke Generator, 24 Nov 42. (4) CWTC Item 646, same title, 
12 Jan 43. 



six minutes elapsed before it warmed up and threw out an effective smoke 
screen. 29 

Generators first saw action in North Africa where CWS units used 
them in the smoke defense rings around Oran, Algiers, Bone, Bizerte, and 
other harbors. Later, the service used them for the invasion of Sicily. At 
Paestum in Salerno Bay, generator units operated for the first time under 
artillery fire, effectively concealing the anchorage and unloading areas from 
the Germans. The operation worked out so well that the Army decided 
to include a smoke unit in the forces assembled for the Anzio landing. 
In March 1944 mechanical generators threw up a protective haze between 
the town of Anzio and enemy lines. Thereafter the Army employed gen- 
erators in front- area operations and to shield troop and convoy movments. 30 

The wide use of Ml generators in all kinds of weather and on all kinds 
of terrain in North Africa, Sicily, and Italy revealed shortcomings in the 
device. Mechanical flaws that normally would have shown up in develop- 
ment tests and have been corrected before the item was issued to troops 
now popped up in battle. More important, the heavy weight of the gen- 
erators and the length of time they needed to warm up sometimes delayed 
the rapid deployment of troops, and on occasion prevented them from 
moving generators about on the battlefield. As a result the CWS and 
NDRC intensified their efforts to produce a lighter, compact generator 
that could be moved easily and make smoke quickly. 31 

In May 1943, the DeVilbiss and York-Hessian Companies built, under 
NDRC contract, small generators for trial. In September the Besler Corp. 
delivered to the CWS an experimental generator that the corporation had 
originally developed for the U.S. Navy. In comparative tests the Besler 
generator came out on top, and in January 1944 the CWS standardized it 
as model M2. The new generator was less than 3 feet long, 2 feet wide 
and 2 feet high. It consumed 50 gallons of fog oil, 5 gallons of gasoline, 
and 5 gallons of water per hour. Weighing only 180 pounds empty, 266 
pounds full, it could be carried short distances by two men, whereas the 
Ml needed a vehicle. It could be employed in mountainous country or 
on soft ground, whereas the Ml could only be used on fairly flat, firm 

29 tm 3-380, 12 May 43. 

30 (1) Pritchard, Smoke Generator Operations, pp. 37-83. (2) Pritchard, Kleber, and Birdsell, 
Chemicals in Combat, ch. VI. (3) The War Against Germany and Italy, pp. 262-63. (4) "Amer- 
ican Forces in Action Series," Anzio Beachhead (22 January~25 May 1944), p. 110. (5) Charles 
B. MacDonald and Sidney T. Mathews, Three Battles, Arnaville, Altuzzo, and Schmidt, UNITED 
STATES IN WORLD WAR II (Washington, 1952), pp. 65-70. 

31 Capt T. L. Hurst and 1st Lt W. F. Kozak, Inspection of Mechanical Smoke Generator Ml 
(Esso) After Extensive Service. TDMR 644, 7 Jun 43. 



Mechanical Smoke Generator M2 (50-Gallon), one of many used to screen 
a heavy ponton bridge over the Rhine River. Germany, 

ground. It produced smoke in less than 1 minute in contrast to the Ml 
which needed 3 to 6 minutes. On top of all these advantages it was 
simpler to operate and maintain in working order. 32 

The Fifth Army in Italy issued M2's to smoke units in August 1944. 
The First Army received them in time for the landings in Normandy. As 
units received M2's they gradually substituted them for Mi's. But all was 
not well. In action the new generators did not perform as efficiently as 
had been expected. They produced smoke for a few days, and then stopped. 
Frequently the coils in which the oil-water mixture was heated kept burn- 
ing out. Poorly trained, careless operators caused some of the breakdowns 
while defects in the design of the generator caused others. As reports 
came in from the field, engineers at Edgewood corrected minor faults in 
the generator, though by the end of the war they were still not able to 
prevent coils from burning out. 33 

32 (1) Capt T. L. Hurst, Capt Winton Brown, and H. E. Norton, Development of a Light- 
weight Portable Oil Smoke Generator of Fifty Gallon Per Hour Capacity. TDMR 810, 1 Mar 44. 
(2) TM 3-381. 14 Jun 44. (3) CWTC Item 864, Standardization of Generator, Smoke, Mechan- 
ical, M2 (50 Gallon), 3 Dec 43. 

33 (1) Col William H. Green, "Make Smoke/' Chemical Warfare Bulletin 31 (Jan-Feb 45), 
21-24. (2) The War Against Germany and Italy, p. 381. 



The Germans had large smoke generators for shielding oil refineries, 
blast furnaces, factories, canals, docks, and other important bomber targets. 
The principle behind their generators was entirely different from the one 
used by Americans. Instead of using oil they employed an acidic solution 
which fumed in moist air. The acid was stored in large barrels fitted with 
spray nozzles and connected to cylinders of compressed air which forced 
the acid out through the nozzles. Smoke from these sprayers has been 
described as resembling tobacco smoke. With a twenty-gallon drum of 
acid, a screen could be maintained for more than an hour. They did not 
generate smoke as rapidly as mechanical generators, the average length of 
time needed to set up an effective screen being fifteen minutes. 34 

German defenders ringed Berlin, Gdynia, Warnemunde, and other vital 
cities with acid spray generators generally spaced seventy-five to one hun- 
dred yards apart. At harbors such as Brest, sprayers on docks, breakwaters, 
and small fishing boats helped maintain the defensive circle. The smoke 
screens were not as thick as those thrown up by American mechanical 
generators, but the records show that they were helpful in cutting down 
the effectiveness of American bombing raids. 35 

The mechanical smoke generator was one of the innovations of World 
War II. It added a new dimension to smoke operations, making it pos- 
sible for the Army to mass produce smoke for tactical and strategic op- 
erations. Judging from the increased use of generators as the war progressed, 
it seemed highly probable that mechanical smoke generators would be a 
standard piece of equipment in any future war. 

Airplane Smoke Tanks 

While smoke screens on land and sea were not new at the time of 
World War II, air screens were an innovation. Such screens, or curtains 
as they were frequently called, were set up by low-flying airplanes spray- 
ing liquid smoke-producing chemicals into the air. As the droplets floated 
to earth they reacted with moisture in the atmosphere and formed white 
smoke that hung suspended in the sky like a high, wide curtain. 

The CWS began work on air smoke back in World War I when the 
Army considered smoke signals as a possible means of communication 
between planes or between planes and the ground. The service experi- 
mented with the idea, dropped it after the armistice, and then took it 

3 * (1) Military Intelligence Div, WD, Special Series No. 24, Enemy Tactics in Chemical War- 
fare, 1 Sep 44, pp. 53-54. (2) Tactical and Technical Trends, no. 24, 6 May 43, pp. 8-11. (3) 
German Chemical Warfare Materiel, pp. I-L-l-I-L-5. 

35 The War Against Germany and Italy, p. 393. 



up again in 1923 when the Navy asked for a smoke signaling device that 
could be mounted on a seaplane. During trial flights, engineers found 
that signal smoke formed so readily and had such good quality that it 
was worth investigating as screening smoke. The CWS continued to 
develop apparatus for airplane smoke screens long after the idea of smoke 
signals had been forgotten. 36 

Early devices injected liquid smoke agents into the exhaust of the 
plane. These soon gave way to simple spray tanks that emptied their 
contents directly into the air. The development of smoke tanks then re- 
ceived impetus from the fact that they could also be used to spray liquid 
toxic agents, such as mustard, on enemy troops. In other words, the Army 
could employ them on defensive missions to drop air curtains, or on 
offensive missions to drop toxic chemicals. In World War II the Army 
and Navy employed tanks only for the former purpose, but they were 
on hand in case gas warfare broke out. 

The CWS had two smoke agents for spraying. Titanium tetrachloride 
(symbol FM) had been known to chemists for almost a century before 
European armies placed it in World War I artillery shells to throw up 
a white smoke and thus assist observers in directing fire. It reacts immedi- 
ately with water vapor, forming several white compounds that remain sus- 
pended in air as a dense white cloud. The service employed FM as its 
first agent in the 1920's, but the disadvantages— excessive cost and the 
tendency of solid reaction products to clog spraying apparatus — sent 
chemists in search of a replacement. In 1930 the service decided on FS, a 
solution of sulphur trioxide in chlorosulfonic acid. When atomized in 
moist air the ingredients reacted with water vapor forming minute droplets 
of sulphuric acid that, like FM, also appeared as a dense white cloud. 
During World War II the CWS procured supplies of both agents, two 
thousand tons of FM, and twenty-four thousand of FS (some of which 
went into smoke bombs and grenades). 37 

The standard airplane spray tank was, at the time of Pearl Harbor, 
model M10, holding about thirty gallons of liquid and streamlined in 
accordance with formulas recommended by the National Advisory Com- 
mittee on Aeronautics. The CWS had begun development of this tank in 
1937 at the request of the Air Corps and later, lacking time and person- 

36 (1) F. R. Weaver, The Development of a Screening Smoke Generator for Type F-5 Sea 
Planes. EACD 268, 27 Mar 23. (2) Harry O. Huss, "Airplane Spray Apparatus: The Evolution 
of the Ram Gravity-Type Smoke Tank," Armed Forces Chemical Journal, III (April 1950), 10-15, 

37 (1) TM 3-215, Aug 52. (2) Crawford, Cook, and Whiting, Statistics, "Procurement," p. 21. 



Lockheed A-29 Spraying Smoke From M33 Smoke Tanks visible under 
wings of craft. Smoke tank protruding from bomb bay is the M33 A-l. 

nel, had contracted with the Douglas Aircraft Co. to complete it. The 
A-20 Douglas Havoc or any other plane equipped with suitable carrying 
racks and controls could take the spray tank aloft. An inlet in the front 
admitted air, and an outlet in the tail pipe released the spray. Glass disks 
blocked both holes until the pilot pressed an electrical switch, sending 
a current through detonators attached to the glass. Air rushed through 
the inlet into the tank forcing the filling out through the tail pipe. The 
rate of discharge varied with the velocity of the plane, dropping from 5V2 
seconds at 175 miles per hour to 4 seconds at 325 miles per hour. With 
FS smoke agent, the maximum height at which the plane could fly to 
produce an effective curtain was about 300 feet. Some of the smoke bil- 
lowed upward so that the completed screen towered about 400 feet in 
the air and stretched about 2,000 feet along the ground. Model M10 was 
the most popular of the CWS's smoke tanks, more than 90,000 coming 
from plants during the war. 38 

While the CWS was readying a smoke tank for the Army, the Navy, 

38 (1) CWTC Item 13, Tanks, Airplane Chemical Spray, Approval of Military Characteristics, 
3 Aug 37. (2) TB 3-255A-1, Airplane Smoke Tank M10, 8 Nov 44. (3) Capt H. E. Lott and 
Harry O. Huss, FS Smoke Curtains' from Airplane Spray Tanks M10 and M33. TDMR 805, 7 
Mar 44. (4) Crawford, Cook, and Whiting, Statistics, "Procurement," p. 24. 



which had never lost its early interest in air curtains, designed two tanks 
somewhat larger and based on a different principle than the CWS's M10. 
One of these held fifty gallons, the other thirty gallons. The plane carried a 
cylinder of compressed carbon dioxide gas, the pressure of which ejected the 
smoke agent. With this system the pilot could turn the spray tank on 
or off at will, releasing the agents in puffs or in one long burst. 

The CWS adopted the Navy tanks for the Army, modifying them for 
bomb bay installation (the Navy used belly mounting) and designating 
them as models M20 and M21. In 1942-43 the service procured more 
than six thousand of each model. Experience showed that the tanks were 
cumbersome, the cylinders of carbon dioxide were an annoyance in supply 
channels, and the smoke screens were not sufficiently thick. The CWS 
stopped production of the tanks and declared them obsolete in 1944. 39 

The tanks that have been mentioned were designed originally for ex- 
ternal mounting on planes. Some years before the war the CWS had 
considered mounting tanks in bomb bays for smoke spraying or toxic 
spraying, but it discarded the idea because of the danger to crew and 
plane in case the tank was pierced by enemy fire. In 1939 a conference 
of Air Corps and CWS officers decided to go ahead with the idea. The 
work proceeded slowly owing to a combination of circumstances: the 
runway at Edgewood Arsenal had to be enlarged to accommodate multi- 
engine planes, the CWS had to obtain an isolated proving ground for 
high altitude spray tests, and the Army needed bombers abroad so badly 
that it would not assign one for the test project. Not until 1942 was the 
experimental model ready, and not until 1944 did production begin. This 
new tank held seventy gallons of agent, and could set up a smoke screen 
400 feet high and 4,000 feet long in one minute. The bombardier could 
drop the tank if necessary before or after the mission. Later the CWS 
modified the tank so that it could be suspended from wings of aircraft, 
and thus decrease contamination of the plane from spattering and lessen 
the danger to aircrews. Industry produced more than ten thousand of the 
bomb bay type (M33) and wing type (M33A1). 40 

19 (1) CW TB 13-1-3, Airplane Smoke Tanks, M20 and M21, 18 Jul 42. (2) CWTC Item 
503, Standardization of Airplane Smoke Tank, M20A1 and M21A1, 2 Jun 42. (3) Crawford, 
Cook, and Whiting, Statistics, "Procurement," p. 24. (4) CWTC Item 1129, Obsoletion of 
Tanks, Airplane, Smoke, M20, M20A1, M21, M21A1, and Related Handling Equipment, 31 
Aug 44. 

40 (1) Ltr, Lt Gen Delos C. Emmons to Chief Air Corps, 25 Jan 41 , sub: High Altitude 
Chemical Spray, with 5 inds. AF 470.7 (1-25-41). (2) CWTC Item 633, Standardization of M33 
Airplane Smoke Tanks, 12 Jan 43. (3) TB 3-255B-1, Airplane Smoke Tanks AN-M33A1 and 
M33, May 45. (4) Crawford, Cook, and Whiting, Statistics, "Procurement/' p. 24. 


The MlO, M20, M21, and M33 smoke tanks gave the Army a range 
of from thirty to seventy gallons, but wartime bombers were capable of 
carrying tanks of considerably greater size. Accordingly the CWS designed 
and tested, but did not produce in quantity, a tank (M40) holding more 
than 200 gallons (4,000 pounds) of FS for B-17 and B-24 airplanes. 
With its large capacity, this tank could set up a screen much longer and 
thicker than could smaller tanks. 41 

The armed forces used aerial smoke curtains on many operations in 
Europe and in the Pacific. In the Marshalls carrier planes laid screens to 
shield landings at Roi-Namur. As a prelude to amphibious landings on 
Guam, Okinawa, and Borneo, planes laid down smoke to conceal under- 
water demolition teams. In Italy the Air Forces placed a screen behind 
Cisterna to shield the 7th and 15th Infantry. At Nadzab, near Lae, New 
Guinea, at Kamiri airstrip, Noemfoor, and at the Camalaniugan airfield 
near Aparri, Luzon, aircraft sprayed smoke to protect paratroop landings. 42 

American forces far outdid German and Japanese armies in the use of 
aerial smoke screens in World War II, although the enemy was also 
equipped for such operations. The Germans had several spray tanks of 
different sizes which, like American tanks, could have been used for toxic 
agents or smoke agents. Their liquid agent was a solution of sulphur 
tri oxide in acid, similar to the CWS's FS smoke agent. The Japanese had 
at least one aircraft spray device, as well as agents like FS and FM. The 
reason the Germans did not use aerial smoke seems to have been the 
fact that their armies had been successful in invasions and paratroop drops, 
as at Crete, without smoke curtains, and by the time they had learned 
the value of such curtains from American successes, they were on the 
defensive. The Japanese could have employed aerial "smoke on many of 
their island invasions, but again their success in invasion by conventional 
means may have made them oblivious of the potential value of air curtains. 43 

41 (1) CWTC Item 792, Standardization of Tank, Airplane Smoke, M40, 3 Sep 43. (2) Huss, 
"Airplane Spray Apparatus." 

42 (1) Wesley Frank Graven and James Lea Cate, eds, "Army Air Forces in World War II," 
vol. IV-, The Pacific: Guadalcanal to Saipan, August 1942 to July 1944 (Chicago: University of 
Chicago Press, 1950), pp. 185, 659. (2) Wesley Frank Craven and James Lea Cate, eds, The 
Pacific: Matterborn to Nagasaki, p. 456. (3) The War Against Japan, pp. 166-67, 378. (4) 
United States Sixth Army, Report of the Luzon Campaign, vol. 3, p. 90. (5) Lt Col Robert D. 
Heinl, Jr., and Lt Col John A. Crown, "Marine Corps Monographs," The Marshalls: Increasing 
The Tempo (Washington, 1954). (6) Anzio Beachhead, p. 33. (7) Appleman, Burns, Gugeler, 
and Stevens, Okinawa: The Last Battle, p. 65. (8) Maj O. R. Lodge, "Marine Corps Mono- 
graphs," The Recapture of Guam (Washington, 1954), p. 34. 

43 (1) Enemy Capabilities for Chemical Warfare, p. 124. (2) New Notes on German Chem- 
ical Warfare (London, British War Office [MHO], May 1943) sec. 7 (c) (VIII). 



Airplane spray tanks were not as widely or as frequently employed as 
smoke pots, grenades, mechanical generators, and other ground smoke 
munitions. In amphibious landings, paratroop drops, and situations where 
a wall of protective smoke had to be erected quickly between American 
and enemy forces, smoke tanks nonetheless proved to be valuable, efficient 

Colored Smoke Munitions 

The Chemical Warfare Service's experience with colored smokes began 
in 1917 when it developed red, yellow, blue, green, and black smoke 
signals for the AEF. 44 In carrying out this work the CWS stepped into 
a field of munition research already occupied by the Ordnance Depart- 
ment. Therefore in 1920, when Congress made the CWS a permanent 
branch of the Army, the War Department found it necessary to set up 
a boundary between the two organizations. The Secretary of War assigned 
to the Ordnance Department all smoke devices used in signaling and 
spotting, to the CWS all smoke devices used in screening. 45 As a result 
of this ruling and of a lack of interest on the part of the using arms the 
CWS did little with colored smokes during the 1920's and 1930's. But 
shortly before World War II the service received requests from the Army 
Air Forces and from the Armored Force for colored smoke munitions. 
With the co-operation of Ordnance, CWS again undertook work on colored 
smokes. 46 

During World War II, colored smoke grenades were the signal muni- 
tions most commonly used by American troops. The CWS began develop- 
ment in September 1942 when the Army Ground Forces requested smoke 
grenades that could be used to show troop positions, to identify American 
tanks, or to signal the location of forced-down planes. The major problem 
facing the service was to find a mixture of chemicals that would produce 
smoke of the desired color, volume, visibility, and duration. This neces- 
sitated a search for heat-stable, commercially available, inexpensive dyes, 
and for a fuel which would burn with sufficient intensity to volatilize but 

44 (1) Arthur B. Ray ; "Production of Colored Smoke Signals," Industrial and Engineering 
Chemistry 18 (1926), 10-17. (2) Arthur B. Ray, "Signal Smokes," Chemical Warfare Mono- 
graph, vol. 41, pts. 1 and 2, May 1919. (3) Leo Finkelstein, Colored Smokes. 

45 WD GO 54, 28 Aug 20. 

4ti (1) CWTC Item 568, Standardization of Grenade, Smoke, Red, AN-M3, 29 Sep 43. (2) 
Col Robert D. McLeod, Jr., "Colored Smoke," Armed Forces Chemical Journal, VIII (Jan-Feb 54), 



not to decompose the dye. Dyes were not synthesized in the Edgewood 
laboratories, but were obtained from industry. Industrial co-operation was 
extremely important since the CWS needed a large quantity of dye. For 
example, since each colored smoke grenade required seven-tenths of a 
pound of dye the CWS had to purchase approximately three and one- 
half million pounds of dye to fill the five million grenades produced 
during the war. Other signal muntions greatly increased the total pound- 
age of dyestuffs so that industry had a problem in producing all the 
special dyes that the CWS needed. 47 

Engineers fashioned the first smoke grenades from the standard chemi- 
cal warfare M7 grenade. This was a steel cylindrical can 4Ys inches high and 
2 3 /s inches in diameter. They punched a number of holes in the sides to 
give the volatilized dye a short path through the hot ash, and thus keep 
the dye from burning. The fuel consisted of sulphur and potassium chlo- 
rate, with sodium bicarbonate to absorb some of the heat and keep the 
temperature down. The ignited grenade emitted a cloud of smoke for 
approximately 2 minutes. The CWS standardized the munition as the 
M16 in April 1943, and produced it in 6 colors, red, orange, yellow, green, 
violet, and black. 18 

After the production of the Ml6 grenade had gotten underway, the 
Army Ground Forces studied the performance of the munition in service 
tests and decided that it would be more useful if the rate of smoke pro- 
duction was increased. It was impossible to raise the volume of smoke 
by speeding the combustion because a higher temperature would have 
caused excessive decomposition of the dye. However, the rate of smoke 
production could be increased by changing the design of the grenade body, 
the proportion of the ingredients in the mixture, and the pressure under 
which the mixture was compressed. In the new design, engineers elimi- 
nated the side holes and cut one large hole, one-half inch in diameter, 
down through the middle of the filling. The finished grenade, designated 
as Model M18, gave off a dense volume of smoke for approximately one 
minute. The CWS planned to produce eight colors, but later at a con- 
ference of Air Forces, Navy, British, and CWS representatives it was 

47 (1) Brig Gen Alden H. Waitc, "Colored Smokes for Protection," Chemical Warfare Bulletin 
29 (July 1943), 9-10. (2) Ltr, CG AGF to C of Ord, 4 Aug 42, sub: Colored Smoke Grenade. 
CWS 471.6/211. 

48 (1) S. J. Magram and Leo Finkelstein, Colored Smoke Grenades, Ml6. TDMR 497, 26 Dec 
42. (2) CWTC Icem 696, Standardization of" Grenade, Smoke, Colored, Ml6, 23 Apr 43. (3) CWTC 
Item 749, Approval of Standardization of Grenade, Smoke, Colored, Ml 6, 3 Sep 43. 



decided to reduce the number to four contrasting colors, red, yellow, 
green, and violet. 49 

Colored smoke grenades were employed in every kind of signaling by 
troops in the field, but the most common use lay in communicating with 
planes that provided close air support. Planes had to recognize American 
front lines, artillery positions, and tanks or else they might bomb them 
accidentally. American forces generally showed yellow smoke to protect 
themselves from their own planes. Troops found other uses for smoke in 
marking targets for artillery fire, in communicating with tanks, and in 
signaling other troops. An indication of the value of colored smoke grenades 
is the large number, more than five million, produced by the CWS from 
1942 to 1945. 50 

Infantrymen found it difficult to throw colored smoke grenades very 
far. In 1943 upon request of the Army Ground Forces the CWS under- 
took the development of rifle grenades that could carry several hundred 
yards. Model M22, the first produced in quantity, was similar in appear- 
ance to the M9Al antitank rifle grenade. It could be sent off by means 
of the M7 or M8 grenade launcher, from either the Ml rifle or Ml 
carbine, and upon impact let off colored smoke— red, orange, yellow, 
green, or violet— for more than one minute. A later model, M23, intended 
for use in jungle or thick forest where high trees and thick underbrush 
would hide smoke from hand grenades, released a stream of colored 
smoke as it arched across the sky. It remained in flight about eleven 
seconds, reaching an altitude of five hundred feet. Four colors were pro- 
duced: red, yellow, green, and violet. Filling plants loaded more than 
one-half million of the impact and the streamer grenades in 1944 and 1945. 51 

The difficulties the CWS faced in finding suitable smoke mixtures for 
grenades were duplicated in the work on colored artillery shells, mortar 
shells, rockets, and bombs. Chemists had to formulate mixtures that would 
release smoke of the desired density for the required time, and engineers 
had to cope with mechanical obstacles that appeared in casings. Artillery 
shells posed no unusual problem. Technicians took a base-ejection shell 

49 (1) CWTC Item 797, Standardization of Grenade, Smoke, Colored, M18, 3 Sep 43. (2) 
CWTC Item 1000, Classification of Fillings for Grenade, Smoke, Colored, M18, 5 May 44. (3) 
CWTC Item 1637, Cancellation of Blue, Black, White, and Orange Fillings for Grenade, Smoke, 
Colored, M18, 6 Aug 46. 

50 (1) Crawford, Cook, and Whiting, Statistics, "Procurement," p. 21. (2) First United States 
Army Report of Operations, pp. 90-91. 

51 (1) CWS Rpt of Production, 1 Jan 40 through 31 Dec 45, pp. 15-16. (2) Finkelstein, 
Colored Smokes, pp. 53-61. 



developed years before and substituted colored smoke canisters (steel tubes 
filled with smoke mixture) for white smoke canisters. The shell, in flight, 
ejected and ignited the canisters which then gave off colored smoke. The 
shell released its canisters several hundred yards from the target, but the 
canisters continued to fly through the air and fell close to the point where 
the projectile landed. The service developed several experimental and 
standard canisters for base-ejection shells of different calibers, but actually 
produced only those for 105-mm. and 155-mm. shells. These came in red, 
yellow, green, and violet. More than two million 105-mm, canisters and al- 
most seven hundred thousand 155-mm. canisters passed along the filling 
lines. Artillery employed these shells widely in Europe and in the Pacific for 
indicating targets within enemy territory where black or white bursts 
could have been confused with the usual smoke of battle. 52 

Artillery shells were only one type of marking and signaling ammu- 
nition developed by the CWS. For units in the Pacific, engineers devised 
2.36-inch colored smoke rockets to mark positions of units or locations 
of front lines in dense jungle where smoke from hand grenades could 
be seen not at all or with great difficulty. Rockets of one type smoked 
upon impact, those of the other type left a trail of smoke as they flew 
through the air. For the Army Ground Forces the CWS designed colored 
smoke shells to fit 60-mm. and 81-mm. infantry mortars, and 4.2-inch 
chemical mortars. The demand for rockets and shells did not materialize, 
and the CWS closed the projects without getting into production. 53 

Although infantry and artillery made most use of colored smokes, 
aviators saw the possibility of using signals for communicating with the 
ground or with other planes. The Navy asked for a 100-pound colored 
smoke bomb that could be dropped on beaches to identify areas where 
troops could be landed quickly. The CWS produced experimental models, 
but then dropped the project when the Navy changed its mind about 
the need for such bombs. The Army Air Forces requested a smoke missile 
that could be used in pattern bombing over Europe. In this method of 

52 (1) Crawford, Cook, and Whiting, Statistics, "Procurement," p. 21. (2) Wendell P. Munro, 
Colored Smokes— Development of Smoke Canister, 105-mm., Base Ejection Shell, M84. TDMR 
561, 28 May 43. (3) Wendell P. Munro and J. C. Driskell, Colored Smokes— Development of 
Smoke Canister, 155-mm. Base Ejection Shell, M115 and Mll6. TDMR 787, Jan 44. 

53 (U J- J* Jungbauer, The Early Development of 2.36-inch Chemical Rockets. TDMR 850, 
22 Jun 44. (2) J. C. Driskell and M. A. Zizmor, Colored Smoke-2. 36-inch Rocket, T32 Streamer. 
TDMR 977, 14 Feb 45. (3) J. C. Driskell and W. K. Ginman, Colored Smokes-Colored Smoke 
Shell for the 60-mm. Mortar. TDMR 857, 3 Jul 44. (4) J. C. Driskell, 81-mm. Colored Smoke 
Shell, TCIR 126, 10 May 44. (5) J. C Driskell and W. K. Ginman, Colored Smokes: Bursting 
Type, 4.2-inch Chemical Mortar Shell E72. TDMR 923, 9 Nov 44. 



bombing, all planes in the formation released their bombs simultaneously 
upon signal from the lead plane. A colored smoke bomb dropped by the 
leader appeared to be a feasible means of giving the signal. In 1944 the 
CWS started work on this bomb. Engineers took the Ordnance M38A2 
100-pound practice bomb, and replaced the sand ballast with pellets 
of colored smoke mixture. When dropped, the bomb left a trail of colored 
smoke. Since smoke from this first model was too tenuous to be seen 
clearly by all planes in a flight, engineers placed a tube in the long axis 
of the bomb and filled the tube with a string of red and yellow smoke 
grenades. The first grenade ignited when the bomb left the bay, and the 
other grenades ignited in succession, leaving an easily visible trail in the 
sky. Before the war was over the CWS produced fillings for several thou- 
sand M87 colored smoke streamer bombs. 54 

The German Army, as the American, had a variety of air and ground 
colored smoke signals. The most common munitions were small candles 
about two inches in diameter and holding a few ounces of smoke mix- 
ture. The candles, for the colors red, green, blue, and violet, produced 
smoke for about twenty seconds. German forces employed single colors or 
combinations to send a variety of signals. An orange smoke candle, issued 
in three sizes, was used only to send distress signals. For artillery signal- 
ing, marking, and ranging, the Germans had 7.5-cm. and 10.5-cm. shells 
with red and blue smoke fillings, fused for either air burst or impact. 
In the fighting in Europe, German artillery attempted to cross up signals 
between American planes and troops and cause planes to bomb American- 
held territory by firing colored smoke shells into the American lines. All 
in all, the Germans found colored smoke quite as useful as did the 
Americans, 55 

The Japanese seemed to have favored colored flares fired from grenade 
dischargers in their signaling; consequently they did not have as large a 
variety of colored smoke munitions as the Americans or the Germans. The 
standard candle was a cylindrical can six inches high, two inches in diam- 
eter, and containing a few ounces of red, blue, or yellow smoke mixture. 
Smoke from these candles was not as thick or persistent as American 
smoke. The Japanese made up for the lack of variety in their signal gre- 

a * (1) Crawford, Cook, and Whiting, Statistics, "Procurement," p. 21. (2) J. C. Driskell, 
W. K. Ginman, and M. A. Zizmor, Colored Smokes— Colored Smoke Trail Bombs El 3, E13R1, 
and E13R2. TDMR 861, 3 Aug 44. (3) CWTC Item 1132, Standardization of Bomb, Smoke, 
Colored Streamer, M87, 31 Aug 44. 

55 (1) German Chemical Warfare, p. 139. (2) German Chemical Warfare Materiel, pp. I-E, 
I-F-3, l-O-l - 1-0-8. (3) First United States Army Report of Operations, pp. 90-91. 



nades, shells, and bombs by the large variety, at least fifteen, of 50-mm. 
signal flares that could be seen for several miles, day or night. 56 

Colored smoke munitions were of small importance when compared 
to the CWS's 4.2-inch chemical mortars, mechanical smoke generators, 
incendiary bombs, toxic agents, gas masks, and other items, but they 
proved their usefulness in special situations and contributed to the success 
of American troops throughout the war. 

The armed forces made significant advances in the evolution of smoke 
tactics during the war. Progress resulted largely from the introduction of 
two new smoke producing devices, the mechanical smoke generator and 
the airplane spray tank, and the improvement of conventional smoke 
munitions and agents. The old and new devices gave the army munitions 
for almost every conceivable type of operation so that smoke as a military 
tactic became far more valuable than at the start of the conflict. 

The subjects of the previous chapters— chemical agents, incendiaries, 
smokes, chemical mortars, flame throwers, biological agents— were the 
chief concern of the CWS during the war. They do not, however, repre- 
sent the entire scientific program. At times the service carried out other 
investigations. One of these was begun in December 1944 when the Air 
Forces asked the CWS to develop propellants for the JB-2 flying bomb, 
the American counterpart of the German "buzz bomb." A group of scientists, 
headed by Maj. Frederick Bellinger, investigated three systems of liquid 
propellants: hydrogen peroxide-permanganate, fuming nitric acid-aniline, 
and mononitromethane-catalyst. The FRED project (after Frederick 
Bellinger) ended with the successful launching of the JB-2 bomb at Eglin 
Field. 57 Another unusual project had to do with the production of iron 
carbonyl, needed by the Signal Corps. The only commercial source then 
available was the General Aniline and Film Co. plant at Linden, NJ., 
managed and operated by German aliens. To assure a steady supply of 
the compound the Defense Plant Corporation tried to develop the process, 
but proceeded so slowly that Secretary of War Patterson transferred the 
project to the CWS. The service co-operated with a chemical engineering 

56 Japanese Chemical Warfare. 

57 (1) Ltr, Frederick Bellinger to Hist Off, 18 Dec 57. (2) F. Bellinger, H. B. Friedman, 
W. H. Bauer, J. W. Eastes, J. H. Ladd, and J. E. Ross, "Chemical Propellants: The System 
Hydrogen Peroxide-Permanganate," Industrial and Engineering Chemistry, 38 (1946), 160-69- 
(3) F. Bellinger, H. B. Friedman, W. H. Bauer, J. W. Eastes, and W. C. Bull, "Chemical Pro- 
pellants: Corrosion and Stability Studies," ibid, 310-20. (4) F. Bellinger, H. B. Friedman, W. H. 
Bauer, J. W. Eastes, and S. M. Edmonds, ''Chemical Propellants: Analytical Studies and Char- 
acteristics of the System Hydrogen Peroxide- Permanganate," ibid, 627-30. 



firm in producing the product. 58 Another group of projects had to do 
with researches on insecticides, miticides, and rodenticides. The CWS was 
represented on the Army Committee on Insect and Rodent Control, estab- 
lished in November 1944, and also co-operated with the OSRD's Com- 
mittee on Insect and Rodent Control. 59 

In the approximately four years of World War II the CWS carried 
on far more technical work than during the previous twenty years of 
peace. But it could have accomplished even more had there been a larger 
research and development organization at the start of the war. The serv- 
ice tried to overcome its early handicap by spending large amounts of 
money, but funds could not buy time. 

The Chemical Warfare Service came out of the war with the largest 
technical organization it had ever had. Its leaders, many of whom had 
grown up with the service, were impressed with the need for maintaining 
such an organization lest the mistakes of the past be repeated. They did 
not want to suffer a repetition of the post World War I experience. 

58 Lcr, Brig Gea Clifford L. Sayre, USAR, to Maj Gen R. W. Stephens, 3 Sep 57. CWS 314.7 
R&D File. 

59 Leo Finkelstein and C. G, Schmitt, Insecticides, Miticides, and Rodenticides, vol. 19, 7 Dec 
49, monograph in series History of Research and Development of the CWS (1 July 1940-31 
December 1945). 


Peacetime Preparation for Supply 

After the CWS developed such items as gas masks, incendiaries, flame 
throwers, and smokes for the armed forces, it turned to the difficult job 
of trying to procure them. During World War II the relationship be- 
tween development and procurement was very obvious, for then the man- 
ufacturer was constantly presented with changes in drawings and 
specifications by those responsible for developing and engineering the 
item. But even before the war the relationship, though not so clearly 
apparent, was nevertheless maintained. 

The unfortunate experience of World War I when the nation was 
called on to produce a number of munitions for which there were no 
detailed specifications led Congress, in the National Defense Act of 1920, 
to provide against another such contingency. A provision of the act was 
that the Assistant Secretary of War would be responsible not only for 
current procurement for the Army but also for peacetime industrial mobil- 
ization planning. 1 In the fall of 1921 the Assistant Secretary set up in 
his office a Procurement Division, made up of a current procurement 
branch and a planning branch. This division supervised the purchase, stor- 
age, distribution, and procurement planning activities of the eight supply 
arms and services, of which the Chemical Warfare Service was one. 2 In 
an effort to further strengthen the industrial mobilization program an 

1 Later the duties were shifted to the Office of the Under Secretary. For a discussion of this 
office and its activities see Troyer S. Anderson, History of the Office of the Under Secretary of War 
(1919-1941). MS reproduced in OCMH, January 1951. 

2 The other arms and services were the Air Corps, Coast Artillery Corps, Corps of Engineers, 
Medical Department, Ordnance Department, Quartermaster Corps, and Signal Corps. 



Army and Navy Munitions Board was established in 1922 and an Army 
Industrial College in 1924. 3 

Among the duties of the Assistant Secretary of War was the approval 
of "shopping lists*' for the various supply arms and services. On 9 December 
1921 the Assistant Secretary approved such a list for the CWS. Included 
were toxic agents, smoke materials, cloud gas materials, and chemical 
engineering equipment. 4 Several reviews of the "List of Supplies to be 
Procured by the Chemical Warfare Service" were made in the various 
categories in the 1920's and 1930's, but no substantial changes were effected. 5 
The Army supply list served a double purpose— it was a partial list of 
materials required by CWS for manufacture of its requirements and it was 
also the authorized procurement list or CWS for procurement planning 
purposes. 6 

The surplus items of World War I served as the basis of a reserve 
for an emergency in the postwar years. In the fall of 1921 the chiefs of 
the technical services were directed to draw up plans for retaining supplies 
and equipment to meet (1) war needs, (2) the requirements of the de- 
fense projects of the insular possessions and the Panama Canal Zone, and 
(3) the peacetime requirements of the Regular Army, the National Guard, 
and the Organized Reserves. 7 The CWS already had items of equipment 
like masks, Livens projectors, and Stokes mortars at the Edgewood Depot 
and at Schofield Barracks in Hawaii. By 1924 the term, "War Reserves," 
came to be applied to the stock of supplies maintained to meet war re- 
quirements and in that year the Congress authorized such stocks for an 
army of 1,000,000 men. The concept behind War Reserves was to stock- 
pile enough supplies to equip an armed force from the time war started 
until that industry could start producing war materiel. 8 

A chief objective of the CWS procurement and supply program was 
to maintain at optimum level those items of the Army supply list for 

:i For a discussion of the background of interwar industrial mobilization planning see R. Elber- 
ton Smith, The Army and Ecommtc Mobilization. UNITED STATES ARMY IN WORLD WAR 
II (Washington, 1959), chs. II and IV. 

4 Rpt of CWS, 1921, p. 5. 

s Specifically these reviews were made in 1923, 1924, and 1931. The revised lists of 1923 and 
1924 are in CWS 400.123 file, National Archives and of 1931 in CWS 381 file, National Archives. 
AR 50-5 (20 Jul 25) made mention of the procurement list. 

fi Memo, Dir of Proc OASW for C CWS, 5 Nov 24, sub: Procurement Lists. CWS 400.12/78. 

7 Ltr, TAG for C CWS, et al.. 13 Oct 21, sub: Computation of War Requirements and the 
Determination of Surplus. AG 381.4 (3.30.22), Ping Div ASF. 

8 0) Ltr, TAG to ASW, et al., 23 Jan 33, sub: War Reserves. AG 381.4 (10-31-32) 
(Misc) M-D, Ping Div ASF, War Reserves, 1934. (2) Memo for Record on War Reserves, Col 
James H. Burns, 7 Oct 38. Ping Div ASF, War Reserves, 1935-38. 



which the CWS had procurement responsibility. The service never attained 
this objective because of the low appropriations for CWS procurement. In 
1926 the Assistant Chief of Staff, G^4, reported deficits in all items stored 
and issued by the CWS in the War Reserves. 9 These items included the 
following: gas masks, canisters, charcoal, phosphorus, Stokes mortars, 
Livens projectors, portable cylinders, smoke candles, lachrymatory candles, 
Livens projector smoke shells, Livens projector incendiary shells, 4-inch 
Stokes mortar chemical shells, and 4-inch Stokes mortar smoke shells. 
Planners then estimated that it would require $3,737,741 to bring the War 
Reserves up to the million-man requirement. 10 They figured that for criti- 
cal chemical warfare items it would take twenty-two and one-half million 
dollars to build up War Reserves for a million men. Critical chemical war- 
fare items were those indispensable munitions which could not be pro- 
cured in time to meet the initial requirement of mobilization. They were 
listed in 1937 according to three priorities. Included under the first pri- 
ority were the various chemical agents, 4.2-inch mortars and ammunition, 
impregnite, masks, collective protectors, and airplane spray tanks. The sec- 
ond priority consisted of gas alarms, irritant candles, Livens projector shells 
(less chemical filling), portable chemical cylinders, field laboratories, Livens 
projector accessory sets, and wrenches for portable chemical cylinders. 
Under the third priority came CN (tear gas) capsules, 8-inch combination 
pliers, colored drawing sets for chemical warfare material, gas identifica- 
tion sets, and CWS insignia stencils. 11 The experience of the CWS was 
similar in this respect to that of the War Department as a whole. Col. 
James H. Burns, of the Office of the Assistant Secretary of War, estimated 
in 1938 that there was a shortage in the War Reserves of $507,000,000 
just in critical items using standard equipment. 12 

Another objective of the procurement and supply program in the CWS 
was to fill the peacetime requirements of the Regular Army, the National 
Guard, the Organized Reserves, and, upon request, the Navy. The gas 
mask was the principal item of issue, although some munitions such as 
grenades and nontoxic drop bombs were manufactured and issued chiefly 
for training purposes. 13 

9 Memo, C Supply Br G-4 for ACofS G-4, 2 5 Jan 26, sub: War Reserves Stored and Issued 
by CWS. G-4/13765. 
30 Ibid. 

11 Critical Items, sec. II, 1 Dec 37, Incl 8 to Ltr, TAG to ASW, et al., 17 Dec 37, sub: War 
Reserves. AG 381.4 (11-8-37) (Misc)-D, CWS 314.7 Supply File. 

12 Memo for Record on War Reserves, Col James H. Burns, 7 Oct 38. Ping Div ASF, War 
Reserves, 1935-38. 

13 Rpt of CWS, 1928, p. 12. 



The Supply Division (later the Manufacturing and Supply Division) 
in the chiefs office had general supervision over all CWS procurement 
and supply. Actual manufacture and procurement as well as storage and 
issue was carried out almost exclusively at Edgewood Arsenal. There the 
gas mask factory turned out masks for the Army and the Navy and there 
some of the filling plans occasionally came out of hibernation to grind 
out the few munitions required for training. The depot at Edgewood 
stocked War Reserves and items of current issue and filled requisitions 
coming in from the continental United States and the overseas departments. 
At the Edgewood Depot were also stored the surplus toxics from World 
War I, over which constant surveillance was mandatory. 

The chief item of manufacture, as just mentioned, was the gas mask. 
The production program of 1920-21 14 was followed by a drastic reduction 
in the years 1922 to 1926, when only 900 masks were manufactured for 
the Army. 15 During the same period, however, a good many masks were 
made for the Navy, the Marine Corps, and the United States Public Health 
Service. Production in modest volume for all users continued from 1927 
to 1938. {Table 5) 

Table 3 — Gas Mask Production at Edgewood Arsenal, 1927-1938 


Number of 


Number of 


23, 560 
24, 667 
42, 180 
23, 208 


16, 235 
31, 564 
25, 785 
51, 167 
18, 734 











Source: Ltf, Arsenal Operations,: Edgewood Areenal, Cral Warfare Center, Md. p to Hist Br OC CWS, 4 Sep 45, sub: 
Edgewood Production. CWS 314.7 Edgewood ArBenal File. 

The continued manufacture of masks at the Edgewood factory enabled 
the CWS to keep alive a highly technical art until such time as private 
industry could get into production. Not only did factory managers and 
supervisors gain valuable experience, but the skilled and semiskilled work- 
ers of the Edgewood gas mask plant were able to train workers in private 
plants in the period of emergency preceding World War II. This situa- 
tion was in marked contrast to the lack of experienced supervisors and 

14 See [chTT1 

15 These 900 were made in 1925 for special field tests of" the diaphragm facepiece by the using 
service. Memo, C CWS for ACofS G-3, 29 Nov 26, sub: Functions of the Chemical Warfare 
Service. In OC CWS "black book" on policy. 



workers in such operations as the manufacture of toxics, smokes, and 
incendiaries. The emergency forced the service to call to active duty a num- 
ber of reserve officers with experience in private industry to supervise the 
technical operations of its arsenals and plants which produced these 

Planning for Mobilization 

The CWS, like the other technical services of the Army, was consulted 
in the formulation of the general Industrial Mobilization Plan and was 
also assigned planning responsibility for specific items designated by the 
Assistant Secretary of War. These were the items included on the "List 
of Supplies to be Procured by the CWS," as already indicated. To carry 
out the procurement planning activities, an Industrial Relations Division 
was set up in OC CWS in 1920. This division was renamed the Indus- 
trial War Plans Division in 1925 and in 1926 the Procurement Planning 
Division, a designation retained until 1940. 16 In January 1924 five pro- 
curement district offices were opened in the following cities to carry out 
procurement planning activities: New York, Boston, Pittsburgh, Chicago, 
and San Francisco. 17 Edgewood Arsenal, in addition to its actual peace- 
time procurement and manufacture, also engaged in industrial mobilization 

From 1937 onward all industrial mobilization planning was based on 
the manpower requirements of the Protective Mobilization Plan (PMP). 
The PMP called for an army of 400,000, within 30 days after mobiliza- 
tion, known as the Initial Protective Force and made up of the Regular 
Army and the National Guard. Within 4 months, the number would be 
raised to 1,000,000 men and within 14 months to a peak wartime figure 
of 4,000,000. The CWS planned for both units and facilities under the 
PMP and estimated the time it would require to furnish the mobilized 
forces with critical and essential items, such as gas masks, toxic agents, 
smoke, munitions, impregnite, airplane spray tanks, and shells for 4.2-inch 
chemical mortars. 18 

16 (1) OC CWS Orgn Chart, 7 Nov 20. (2) Rpt of CWS 1925, p. 26. (3) Rpt of CWS, 
1926, p. 25. 

17 Brophy and fishet Tdrza nizing for War, ch. II. | 

18 (1) Ltr, ACofS G-4 to C CWS, 1 Oct 36, sub: Manufacture and Supply of Essential Chem- 
ical Agents. G-4/29895. (2) Memo, ACofS G-4 for C CWS, 20 Jun 38, sub: CWS Program for 
National Defense. G-4/29895-1. (3) Ltr, C CWS to TAG, 13 Jul 37, sub: The Protective Mobil- 
ization, Plan, and 1st Ind, C CWS 28 Dec 37, on Ltr, CmlO 3d Corps Area, 22 Dec 37, sub: 
Critical Items, CWS. Both in CWS 381/259, pt. 1, Jan 37 thru Dec 38. (4) Ltr, C CWS to 
TAG, 13 Jul 39, sub: Supply Facilities under the P.M. P. 1939. CWS 381/259, pt. 2, Jan 39 
thru Dec 39. 


Procurement Planning 

Planning for the procurement of materiel was but one phase of the 
industrial mobilization process. 19 Because it was relatively inexpensive the 
CWS concentrated on this activity more than on other aspects of indus- 
trial mobilization. 

Procurement planning involved the following steps by CWS: 

1. The computation of the quantities and time of delivery as re- 
quired under the War Department Mobilization Plans. 

2. The preparation of specifications for each item to be bought or 

3. The decision as to what materiel should be manufactured by gov- 
ernment plants and what should be obtained from industry. 

4. The preparation for the procurement of such materiel. Although 
the CWS was responsible for the spade work involved, all proposals had 
to meet with the approval of the General Staff and of the Assistant Sec- 
retary of War. 20 

Computation of Requirements 

The computation of requirements through most of the period was a 
relatively simple process because the basis of calculation was the number 
of individuals or units that were to be supplied with defensive items of 
equipment. Offensive munitions were not taken into consideration until 
the late thirties; the color plans 21 made no provision whatever for the 
use of toxics, although the Yellow plan called for dispatching four com- 
panies of CWS troops and a large quantity of tear gas with the expedi- 
tionary forces. 22 The Procurement Planning Division of the chiefs office 

19 The CWS Annex to the 1925 Industrial Mobilization Plan listed the following activities that 
would have to be carried out in peacetime as a basis for wartime expansion: 

1. Maintenance of present manufacturing facilities. 

2. Maintenance of a war reserve. 

3. Research, development, and proving. 

4. Small-scale manufacture. 

5. Procurement planning. 

War Plan for Industrial Mobilization, Annex 7, CWS, 5 Feb 25, submitted by C CWS to 
ASW, 5 Feh 25. CWS 400.123/141. 

20 For a discussion of procurement planning in the War Department see Smith, The Army and 
Economic Mobilization, ch. III. 

21 For color plans see (1) Maurice Macloff and Edwin M. Snell, Strategic Planning for Coalition 
Warfare, 1941-1942 (Washington, 1953), p. 6 and (2) Mark Skinner Watson, The Chief of Staff: 
Prewar Plans and Preparations (Washington, 1950), pp. 87-89, both in UNITED STATES 

22 Memo, ACofS G-3 for CofS, 28 Mar 27, sub: CWS Functions, G-3/5749. 



prepared tables of equipment and tables of basic allowances as well as distri- 
bution and maintenance factors. These it defended before the Planning 
Branch of the Office of the Assistant Secretary of War. The Procurement 
Planning Division also computed the quantities of chemical warfare items 
and components which would be required by the Army and Navy during 
the 14-month period of mobilization. 

Until the mid-thirties there was little correlation between the manpower 
requirements of the War Department general mobilization plans and the 
industrial mobilization plans. The general mobilization plans of the early 
twenties had called for six and one-half million men, a figure which was 
reduced to less than four million men in the 1933 plan. 23 For a number 
of years planners gave little concern to equipping this huge force, because 
of the existence of surplus items remaining from World War I. By the 
early thirties this World War I equipment had become obsolete and the 
War Department had to give more serious consideration both to procur- 
ing sufficient War Reserve materiel and to drawing up more realistic plans 
for procurement in an emergency. 

The 1930's saw a marked revision in mobilization planning. The Assistant 
Secretary of War, who later became the Secretary of War, Harry H. Wood- 
ring, and the Chiefs of Staff, Generals Douglas MacArthur and Malin 
Craig, worked together to make the plans more realistic. The result was 
the Protective Mobilization Plan of the late 1930's which called for the 
gradual mobilization of an army of four million men over a 14-month 
period and the gearing of procurement planning to the new concept. 24 

Preparation of Specifications 

A second step in procurement planning was the preparation of specifi- 
cations for the item to be procured. The specification described the item 
in detail, listed the materials and other information required for its manu- 
facture, and outlined the methods to be employed in its inspection and 

23 (1) Memo, ACofS WPD for CofS, 21 Sep 21, sub: Determination of a Basis for the Further 
Declaration of Surplus Supplies. AG 318.14, (3.30.22), Ping Div ASF. (2) Watson, The Chief of 
Staff: Prewar Plans and Preparations^ pp. 23-31- (3) Marvin A. Kriedberg and Merton G. Henry, 
History of Military Mobilization in the United States Army, 1773-1943, DA Pamphlet No. 20- 
212, June 1955, chs. XII and XIII. 

24 (1) Annual Rpt SW, 1938, p. 1. (2) Otto L. Nelson, National Security and the General 
Staff (Washington: The Infantry Journal Press, 1946), pp, 303-04. (3) Watson, The Chief of 
Staff: Prewar Plans and Preparations, pp. 26-31. (4) Kriedberg and Henry, History of Military 
Mobilization in the United States Army, 1773-1945, chs. XIV and XV. 



testing. The CWS, unlike the older technical services, had to start almost 
from scratch in developing a complete set of specifications, because its 
experience was limited to World War I. The items for which the CWS 
drew up specifications were generally those included on the supply list. 25 

The actual writing of the specifications was done by the Technical 
Division at Edgewood Arsenal. All specifications were reviewed by a board 
made up of representatives of the Technical, Production, and Inspection 
Divisions of the arsenal. After the board had made a preliminary review 
of the specifications, the chiefs office sent them through the procurement 
district office to industrial firms experienced in the manufacture of the 
item. Final approval had to come from the Standards Division, Office of 
the Assistant Secretary of War. 26 

In spite of the fact that the CWS wrote specifications for a great 
many items, a considerable part of its labor, unfortunately, went for naught, 
because many specifications were found not suitable once the items were 
put into production during the emergency or early war period. One fea- 
ture of the specification of the gas mask, for example, was a requirement 
for brass. While there were definite advantages in the use of this metal, 
brass was simply not to be obtained when war came and substitutes had 
to be found. A more serious defect was that the specifications for some 
items were written on the basis of experience with models fabricated by 
hand at the lone machine shop at Edgewood Arsenal, a method which 
gave little indication of the mass producibility of the items. Surprisingly, 
the industrial concerns which reviewed the specifications did not point out 
this fact. It must be borne in mind, however, that the manufacturers were 
requested to do this work gratis and as a result their reviews were often 
not as thorough as they might have been. Only when the period of the 
emergency brought the prospect of actual contracts did the review of 
specifications by industry prove truly valuable. The ideal procedure, in the 
opinion of several CWS officers who had experience with the handling 
of specifications, would have been to award contracts to engineering firms 
specializing in such work. But since no funds were allowed for thus pur- 
pose such a procedure was not possible. 27 

25 Copies of all CWS specifications are filed at Chemical Corps Engineering Command, ACmlC, 


26 Smith, The Army and Economic Mobilization, pp. 50-51. 

27 Intervs, Hist Off with Col Harry A. Kuhn, USA Ret, 19 Oct 53; Lc Col Rura O. Ball, 1 Occ 
53; and H. C. Fischer, Supt, Machine Shop, ACmlC, 8 Oct 53. Colonel Kuhn had experience in 
procurement planning in NYCWPD and Colonel Ball ac the War Plans Division EA and in the 



Government Plants or Private Industry? 

The procurement experience of the CWS in World War I had a 
definite influence on procurement planning in the postwar years. During 
that war chemical warfare items were obtained through manufacture in 
both government plants and private industry. The chemical industry never 
waxed enthusiastic about manufacturing toxic agents. After the war it 
became an accepted Army policy that the production of these agents was 
"attended with so many hazards" that their manufacture should be restricted 
to government arsenals and plants. 28 These same government installations 
would also manufacture smokes, incendiaries, and nontoxic gases, and 
would fill the required shells, bombs, and grenades. The raw materials 
and chemicals as well as the chemical engineering equipment needed for 
this manufacture would be purchased through the procurement districts. 
Gas masks would be procured both from private industry and from 
government factories. 29 

In the 1920's the CWS believed that the facilities at Edgewood Arsenal 
could fill the requirements for smoke, incendiaries, and toxic and non- 
toxic agents during the first eight months of an emergency, by which 
time a second arsenal in the vicinity of Memphis, Tenn., could be erected 
to help carry the production load. 30 These plans were made in the years 
when the manufacturing and filling plants at Edgewood were not yet 
beyond hope of rehabilitation. The Edgewood facilities were not restored, 
as already noted, and by the close of the 1920's most of them were ready 
for the scrap heap. 

With the appointment in 1933 of Mr. Woodring as Assistant Secretary 
of War and Maj. Gen. Claude E. Brigham as Chief, CWS, more stress 
was placed on planning for the procurement of items of chemical am- 
munition, their components, intermediate and raw chemicals, and on 
arsenal planning. 31 The first tangible result of the emphasis on arsenal 
planning was the creation of a War Plans Division at Edgewood Arsenal 
in the fall of 1934, This division was staffed by an officer or two and a 
few civilian engineers and draftsmen. Its function was to draw up plans 

28 Memo, ACofS G-4 for CofS, 25 Mar 25, sub: Necessary Peacetime Preparation to Insure 
Successful Opposition to an Enemy Using Chemical Methods of Warfare. AG 321.94 (3—25— 
25) (1). 

29 CWS Gen Mob Plan based on WD Gen Mob Plan, 1928, pp. 8-9. 

30 (1) War Plan for Ind Mob, an. 7, CWS, 5 Feb 25, p. 5. CWS 400.123/141. (2) CWS 
Gen Mob Plan based on WD Gen Mob Plan, 1928, p. 8. 

:11 Rpt of CWS, 1934, p. 3. 



for rehabilitating old arsenal plants 
or building new ones, "capable of 
meeting average monthly require- 
ments of Section 11-A, P.M.P." 32 
For a time the division was under 
the general supervision of the tech- 
nical director at Edgewood, but in 
July 1936 it was placed directly 
under the jurisdiction of the com- 
manding officer at Edgewood Arse- 
nal. 33 While the War Plans Division 
assumed chief responsibility for 
arsenal planning, it was not the 
only agency in the CWS carrying 
out such activity. The Engineering 
Division at Edgewood drew up cer- 
tain plans for which its members 
had special qualifications, such as 
those for a phosgene filling plant 
and an impregnite (CC-2) plant. 

These plans were to prove valuable when construction of new facilities 
was undertaken in the emergency period. 34 

While the planners were studiously drawing up their blueprints, the 
Chief, CWS, was losing no opportunity of calling the attention of the 
Chief of Staff to shortages that would exist on M-day, unless some actual 
rehabilitation or new construction were undertaken. In the summer of 1934 
General Brigham notified the Chief of Staff that it would take from four 
to nine months to put the manufacturing and filling plants into operation 
and he urged that they be partially rehabilitated as soon as possible. 35 
General Brigham's estimate of the situation was generally confirmed by a 
study made in the fall of 1936 by the Planning Branch of the Office of 
the Assistant Secretary of War on procurement possibilities under the 1933 
Mobilization Plan. That study included two chemical warfare items, the 

Lt. Col. Claude E. Brigham (pho- 
tograph taken before 1932 when Brig- 
ham became a general officer J. 

32 Report of Activities of Edgewood Arsenal for the month of Jan 1938, pt. X, WPD. CWS 
319.1/2183-2249. 1936-41. 

33 EA GO 4, 1 Jul 36. 

34 Rpt on Arsenal Planning Proj, CO EA to C CWS, 4 Mar 36. CWS 322.095/727. 

35 Memo, C CWS for CofS, 31 Aug 34, sub: Major Deficiencies in CWS. CWS 679/5. 



gas mask and mustard gas. It concluded that for neither of these would 
the supply requirement be met until ten months after M-day. 36 

In order to improve the preparedness status of the service the Chief, 
CWS, in the spring of 1936 suggested to the Chief of Staff that a 5-year 
program be undertaken in the CWS. 37 This program would cover all 
phases of the CWS mission, including research and development, training, 
procurement, and supply. The procurement phase of the program included 
the erection of new facilities for the manufacture of important reserve ma- 
terial, which the Chief, CWS, listed in the following order of urgency: 
impregnite, gas masks, persistent gas, nonpersistent gas, ammunition for 
chemical weapons, and collective protectors. General Brigham estimated 
the cost of the projected CWS program for the years 1938-42 as follows: 

1938- $4 ,331,879 

1939- 4,294,307 

1940- 5,791,819 
1941 — 5,737,669 
1942— 5,122,669 

General BrighanVs recommendations were no doubt prompted in part by 
the action of the Joint Board in the summer of 1935 in confirming CWS 
responsibility for research and procurement of chemical warfare materiel 
for the Army, the Navy, and the Marine Corps. 38 

The Chief of Staff referred General Brigham's suggestion to G-4 for 
study and comment. The Chemical Warfare program was, of course, only 
one of a number which the General Staff was called on to evaluate, and 
the amount of funds which the Bureau of the Budget would approve for 
military purposes at that time was strictly limited. 39 The War Department 
General Staff, therefore, had to closely scrutinize all programs entailing an 
expenditure of funds. To complicate matters still more, both G-4 and the 
Office of the Assistant Secretary of War had definite misgivings about 
spending too much money on chemical plants which they felt might be- 
come obsolete in a few years. Their attitude was reflected in the words of 
the director of the Planning Branch of the Office of the Assistant Secre- 

36 OASW, Procurement Possibilities Under the 1933 Mobilization Plan, October 1936. 

37 Memo, C CWS for CofS, 21 Mar 36, sub: National Defense Against Chemicals. CWS 

nR (1) Ltr, Sr Member, Jt Bd to SW, 21 Aug 35, sub: Chemical Warfare. Jt Bd No 330, Ser 
550. (2 ) For a discussion of CWS relations with the Navy, see Brophy and Fisher, Organizing 
for War, Ich. HI. I 

39 (1) Nelson, National Security and the General Staff, p. 307. (2) Watson, The Chief of 
Staff: Prewar Plans and Preparations, p. 48. 



tary of War, commenting approvingly on a G-4 study of 1936: "I believe/' 
he said, "Edgewood Arsenal should be rehabilitated only to the extent 
previously recommended by this office, i.e., the smallest most up-to-date 
commercially reproducible unit, but that each type of equipment should 
be properly housed and made shipshape." 40 Assistant Secretary Woodring 
expressed himself in the same vein when after a vist to Edgewood Arsenal 
in May 1936 he sent the following note to the Chief of Staff, General 
Malin Craig: 

As a result of our recent visit to Edgewood Arsenal, I am not favorably impressed 
with the idea of rehabilitating the Chemical Warfare manufacturing plant. It would 
seem advisable to have more manufacturing work done by commercial plants and uti- 
lize funds to become available for the Edgewood Arsenal for experimental and develop- 
mental projects. The question of secrecy in manufacturing processes may have some 
effect on outside manufacture but should not prevent it. 41 

It is understandable, then, why G-4 did not give favorable consideration 
to General Brigham's suggestions. 42 Instead of the annual expenditure of 
about 5 million dollars which the Chief, CWS, had proposed, G-4 recom- 
mended a total expenditure of a little over 6 million dollars for the entire 
five-year period. 43 This G-4 estimate was to be drastically revised after 
the German invasion of Poland in September 1939. With the funds actu- 
ally allotted in the late 1930's the CWS built and operated small produc- 
tion units for toxic agents, impregnite, and white phosphorous at Edge- 
wood Arsenal. 

Planning for the Gas Mask 

On no other item was there more planning than on the gas mask. 
Although masks were manufactured in peacetime at Edgewood Arsenal, 
plans called for procuring masks at various points throughout the country 
in the event of an emergency. The plans of the twenties and early thirties 
specified that the Edgewood plant would run at full capacity during the 
first few months of a war until government assembly plants in various 
cities throughout the country, such as Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, 
Memphis, and Los Angeles, would be in operation. The gas mask factory 
at Edgewood would then be discontinued. While the government plants 

40 Memo, Dir PI Br OASW for The Ex OASW, 27 Aug 36. G-4/29895. 

41 Memo, ASW for Gen Craig, 25 May 36, sub: Rehabilitation of Edgewood Arsenal. Ping 
Div ASF, Arsenal Reserve Plants-CWS. 

42 The General Staff and the OASW co-operated closely on decisions regarding procurement 
planning. See Smith, The Army and Economic Mobilization, ch. Ill, and Nelson, National Secur- 
ity and the General Staff, p. 304. 

43 Memo, ACofS G-4 for CofS, 20 Jun 38, sub: CWS Program. G-4/29895-1. 



would do the actual assembling of the masks, private contractors would 
supply the components. 

The plans for the purchase of these components were worked out in 
considerable detail in the various procurement district offices before being 
submitted to the Procurement Planning Division, OC CWS. The district 
office plans were not confined to the components of the mask, but they 
were of primary concern while chemicals were secondary. Each procure- 
ment district was headed by a civilian chief, who was chairman of an advis- 
ory board of five to ten members drawn from among the leaders of the 
community in the fields of science, commerce, and industry. Each district 
also had a military executive officer, usually of company grade, with a 
civilian assistant. The planning activities of the district office were facili- 
tated by the assignment of selected CWS Reserve officers to appropriate 
mobilization duties. From the ranks of these Reserve officers were to come 
competent officer material for World War II, 44 

In accomplishing their procurement planning mission, the district offices 
conducted surveys to determine appropriate facilities for manufacturing the 
items, such as the gas mask and others, apportioned to them by the 
Assistant Secretary of War. The results of these surveys were reported to 
the Office of the Assistant Secretary, who thereupon allocated specific 
facilities to the districts. Representatives from the district offices then 
approached the management of these allocated facilities with the request 
that they sign a schedule of production, which was a mutual statement 
of intention of the contractor to produce the item or items specified in 
certain quantities and of the government to purchase such material if needed. 
These schedules of production were in no sense binding contractual obli- 
gations. The understanding was, however, that the allocated facilities 
would devote all, or a specified portion, of their wartime production 
capacity to the particular supply branch to which they were allocated. 

From the mid-thirties on, there was a changed conception in procure- 
ment planning for the mask. Both the Assistant Secretary and G-4 believed 
that more emphasis should be placed on contracting with private industry 
in the event of an emergency and this attitude was reflected in the plans 
of the CWS. A CWS arsenal procurement plan of March 1935, for exam- 
ple, called for the Edgewood gas mask plant to work at full capacity until 
six months after mobilization, whereupon some nine private contractors 
would assume entire production of the mask. No mention whatever was 

44 Brophy and Fisher, \Orzanizing for War, ch. Vll] 



made of the government assembly plants in various cities, referred to in 
previous plans. 45 

The increased attention by the Assistant Secretary's Office to meeting 
the requirements of the 1933 Mobilization Plan led to a greater emphasis 
on possible shortages in the supply of gas masks. In June 1935 the Chief, 
CWS, notified G-4 that the existing plant at Edgewood Arsenal, operat- 
ing twenty-four hours a day, could not meet the requirements of the 1933 
plan, and recommended corrective action. "The choke point in meeting 
requirements, by the use of additional manufacturing plants," the Chief 
said, "is the lack of special gauges, dies and jigs, and other apparatus not 
commercially available. The National Defense Act authorizes the procure- 
ment of these items in times of peace, but no funds have been appropri- 
ated for this purpose." 46 General Brigham urged that provision be made 
in the budget estimates for the fiscal year 1937 for buying the necessary 
gauges, dies, and jigs. The request was honored and $25,000 was appro- 
priated for this purpose in the fiscal year 1937 and a similar sum for the 
following fiscal year. 47 These sums were not large, but they did enable 
the CWS to be in a fair position, so far as tooling went, when the time 
came for actually producing more masks. 

General Brigham, as early as January 1936, believed that the time had 
come for manufacturing masks in greater numbers. He suggested to the 
Chief of Staff that a 5-year program aimed at procuring 100,000 masks 
each year be initiated. 48 This suggestion, though approved in principle by 
the General Staff, was never implemented because of inadequate appropri- 
ations. Procurement of masks on a considerable scale was to wait until 
the enactment of educational order legislation by Congress on 16 June 
1938. 49 Immediately upon the enactment of this legislation the Secretary 
of War appointed a board of officers from the technical services, the War 
Department General Staff, and the Office of the Assistant Secretary of War 

45 Arsenal Procurement Policy CWS, 15 Mar 35, an incl to Ltr, C CWS to Dir Pi Br OASW, 
9 "May 35, same sub. Ping Div ASF, Arsenal Reserve Plants-CWS. 

46 Memo, Actg ACofS G-4 for CofS, 14 Jun 35, sub: Budget Estimates CWS for FY 1937. 

47 (1) Ltr, C CWS to CofS, 19 May 37, sub: Final Report on the Status of Chemical Readi- 
ness by the Retiring Chief, CWS, and Memo (Draft) C CWS for ACofS G-4, 30 Apr 38, sub: 
Data Collected for Use in Connection With the Preparation of a Program for the CWS. Both 
in G-4/29895-1. (2) Interv, Hist Off with Lt Col Rura O. Ball, 16 Mar 51. Colonel Ball was 
with War Plans Div, EA, from November 1938 till after outbreak of the war. 

4H Memo for ACofS G-4, 30 Apr 38. 

49 (1) P.L. 639, 75th Cong. (2) In Annual Rpt of SW, 1931, p. 157, an educational order 
is defined as "a contract placed, without advertising, for a limited quantity of a desired technical 
article, with any selected facility." 



to select items for the first orders under the program. The CWS was rep- 
resented on this board by Maj. George F. Unmacht. The board selected 
six items, one of which was the gas mask. 50 

Viewed in retrospect and with all the advantages of hindsight it is possi- 
ble to point out several miscalculations in the prewar mobilization planning 
of the CWS. The first was the assumption that there would be an orderly 
transition from peace to war. A second was the failure to realize the global 
extent of the coming war. These two concepts generally characterized the 
thinking of the planners throughout the War Department. In addition 
there were two other basic miscalculations in chemical warfare planning. 
One was the conviction that gas warfare was all but inevitable and the 
other was the failure to draw up procurement plans for what turned out 
to be the most important chemical warfare items to be used in World War 
II— incendiary bombs, high explosive mortar shells, flame throwers, and 
smoke generators. The oversight, so far as incendiary bombs and high 
explosives were concerned, resulted from uncertainty over the CWS mis- 
sion. 51 With regard to flame throwers and smoke generators, the CWS 
planners failed to draw up procurement plans because development of those 
munitions was not emphasized in the period of peace. 

The procurement and supply activities of the two decades following World 
War I reflected the diplomatic and economic developments of the period. The 
efforts of the United States Government to disarm, and to eliminate war as an 
instrument of national policy, together with the advent of the greatest depression 
in the nation's history, militated against a strong military preparedness posture, 
particularly in the field of chemical warfare. Until the late 1930*s litde money was 
expended for CWS procurement or construction, although a great deal of time 
and effort went into the planning of these activities. 

Hopes for world peace, so buoyant in the 1920's, were dashed against the 
realities of international lawlessness in the 1930's when Japan invaded Manchuria 
and China and when the armies of Mussolini invaded Ethiopia. These act were 
followed in September 1939 by the march of Hitler's forces into Poland. With 
these developments came a gradual change in the attitude of the government on 
military preparedness. The closing years of the decade were to see not only a 
greater emphasis on planning, but the initiation of programs to implement the 

so Rpt of CWS, 1939, p. 17. 

5 1 Brophy and Fisher, {Orga nizing f or War, ch. III. | 


Beginnings of Industrial Mobilization 

The years 1939-41 were a period of initial industrial mobilization, dur- 
ing which programs for the construction of badly needed facilities got under 
way and a start was made in procuring critical and essential items. This 
period was to reap the reward of the labors of the previous years, when 
so many blueprints for arsenals and plants had been drawn up and so many 
procurement plans had been made in the Chemical Warfare Service. 

Although the President did not put the Industrial Mobilization Plan 
of 1939 into operation, the plan was nevertheless followed rather closely 
in War Department procurement activities for the Army at large. 1 So far 
as the CWS was concerned, it had a much more restricted application. In 
the general scramble for contracts by all elements of the armed forces and 
by foreign governments after the outbreak of war in Europe in 1939, many 
allocated plants were lost to the CWS. In only one chemical warfare pro- 
curement district, New York, were contracts awarded on a considerable 
scale to previously allocated manufacturers. 2 This situation was probably 
due to the fact that the majority of the contracts in the New York dis- 
trict were for certain raw chemicals for which there was no keen compe- 
tition. In other districts, it was the exception rather than the rule for a 
previously allocated plant to be awarded a contract. 3 

' (1) Industrial College Armed Forces (ICAF), R63, Use of Industrial Mobilization Plan in 
World War II, April 1945, pp. 1-5. ICAF Library. (2) Smith, The Army and Economic Mobili- 
zation, pp. 83-86. 

2 Interv, Hist Off with Col Harry A. Kuhn, 19 Oct 53. Kuhn was chief of the New York 
district in the early part of the war. 

3 ( 1) Intervs, Hist Off with following procurement district officers of WW II: Col Raymond 
L. Abel, 23 Apr 55; Col Victor C Searle, 18 Apr 55; and Walter E. Spicer, Jr., 28 Apr 55. (2) 
ICAF R63, Use of Industrial Mobilization Plan in World War II. See especially Table 1. 



Procurement planning in the emergency period took on a new sense 
of urgency because of the immediate need to supply a progressively grow- 
ing army with the implements of war. The initiation of the building and 
procurement programs affected the nature of procurement planning, for 
considerable attention had to be paid to such matters as priorities and the 
availability of machine tools. While such matters were of primary concern 
to those then engaged in construction and procurement operations, they 
were also of vital interest to the procurement planners. 

Educational Order Program 

After the enactment of educational order legislation on 18 June 1938 
and the selection of the gas mask as one of the six Army items to be 
procured, the Assistant Secretary of War called upon the Chief, CWS, for 
a suggested 5-year educational order program for his service to include items 
and facilities to be procured, the order of priority, and the amount of funds 
to cover each item. 4 In reply the Chief, CWS, listed the following gas 
mask items and facilities in the order of priority. For fiscal year 1939, Num- 
ber 1 priority was the procurement and installation of all equipment re- 
quired for assembling the complete standardized service gas masks at a 
rate of 100,000 per month; Number 2, the procurement of equipment for 
manufacturing impregnated charcoal at the rate of 4,000 pounds per day; 
Number 3, the procurement of required metal components for the canis- 
ter; Number 4, the procurement of manufacturing aids such as molds, dies, 
jigs, and gauges; and Number 5, the procurement of additional compo- 
nents. Under the first three priorities, specific manufacturers were recom- 
mended for contracts. For the fiscal year 1940 the Chief, CWS, recom- 
mended substantially the same priorities as those for fiscal 1939. For the 
fiscal years 1941-1943 inclusive the CWS planned only comparatively minor 
activities, such as retesting of equipment by contractors. Because of the 
outbreak of the war, the educational order program lasted not five years, 
but only about half that period. During that time it was to follow rather 
closely the lines proposed by the Chief, CWS, to the Secretary of War 
in the summer of 1938. 

The fact was that the planners in the CWS had been discussing the 
educational order programs for a number of years and had well formulated 
ideas by the time the legislation was finally enacted. 5 Those manufactur- 

4 Ltr, ASW to C CWS, 20 Jun 38, sub: Program Under Educational Order Legislation. 
CWS 011-21. 

■'' Ltr, ExO OC CWS to CO EA, 22 Sep 38, sub: Educational Orders. CWS 011-21. 



ers whom the Chief, CWS, recommended for contracts were well known 
to CWS procurement planners as well as to the research and development 
personnel, for there had been constant contact with industry with regard 
to the improvement of the mask. An example of benefit deriving from 
such contact was the case of the fully molded facepiece. In the 1930's 
the government scientists at Edgewood were doing a great deal of work 
on improving the facepiece of the mask and eventually a new and better 
faceblank was devised consisting of a single piece of molded rubber. 6 
While this faceblank was still in the development stage, the CWS con- 
sidered the feasibility of mass producing the item. It approached a number 
of rubber manufacturers who for a time showed an interest in the prob- 
lem. But after a couple of years the general reaction was one of discour- 
agement among both the industrialists and CWS planners. 7 Only two 
manufacturers, the Acushnet Process Co. of New Bedford, Mass., and the 
General Tire and Rubber Co. of Akron, Ohio, remained hopeful. One 
CWS officer in close touch with the problem, Maj. Charles E. Loucks, 
technical director at Edgewood, shared their optimism and gave them all 
possible encouragement. The reward came when P. E. Young, president 
of the Acushnet Process Co., through his own personal research and exper- 
imentation, demonstrated that fully molded face blanks could be produced 
in mass, a conclusion which the General Tire and Rubber Co. arrived at 
independently. 8 Through such contacts as these the CWS increased its 
knowledge of the capabilities of the various prospective gas mask con- 

Under educational order legislation, bids were received only from those 
firms that had been selected by the Secretary of War and any contract 
entered into as a result of the invitation to bid had to be approved by 
the President of the United States. Usually, although not always, the Sec- 
retary of War solicited bids from the firms recommended by the CWS. 

The first educational order of the CWS went to the Goodyear Tire 
and Rubber Co. for the operation of a service gas mask assembly plant 
at Akron, Ohio. This contract, the only CWS educational order contract 
written in fiscal year 1939, resembled all later contracts in requiring the 

6 The patent on this fully molded facepiece, U.S. Pat. 2,164,330, 4 Jul 39, was awarded to 
Sidney H. Katz and D. O. Burger. 

7 Lcr ( Dewey and Almy Chemical Co to Lt Col A. M. Prentiss, 20 Aug 37, and 1st Ind. In 
Corres files, CW Labs, A CmtC, Md. 

h (1) Ltr, P. E. Young to Hist Off, 15 Apr 52. (2) Ltr, P. E. Young, Acushnet Process Co, 
to C CWS, 27 Oct 37. In Corres files, CW Labs, A CmlC, Md. 



actual manufacture of a specified number of items in connection with the 
contract, in this instance 3,000 masks. In fiscal 1940 the CWS awarded 
two other contracts for service gas mask assembly plants, one to the Fire- 
stone Rubber and Latex Products Co. of Fall River, Mass., and the other 
to Johnson and Johnson at its Chicago plant. The same year also saw the 
following additional awards: 

1. Construction of a gas mask carrier line at the Goodyear Tire and 
Rubber Co. plant in Akron, Ohio. 

2. Construction of charcoal and whetlerite plants by Barnebey-Cheney 
Brothers Engineering Co. at Columbus, Ohio, and Carlisle Lumber Co. at 
Onalaska, Wash. 

3. Erection of a complete canister component manufacturing plant at 
the Milwaukee Stamping Co, in Milwaukee, Wis. 

4. Construction of plants at Akron, Ohio, and New Bedford, Mass., 
for the manufacture of faceblanks. 

5. Construction of five noncombatant gas mask assembly plants at 
various points throughout the country. 

*6. Erection of an impregnite (CC-2) plant at Niagara Falls, N.Y. 

Although educational order contracts were awarded mostly for gas 
masks and components, one contract was written in fiscal 1940 for a CC-2 
plant. In the following fiscal year the CWS awarded educational order 
contracts for the construction of a shoe impregnite plant and for the manu- 
facture of filter paper. (Tables\^and^ 9 

The educational order program in the CWS proved invaluable in supply- 
ing much needed facilities and in enabling the representatives of the gov- 
ernment and industry to co-operate in solving manufacturing and other 
problems. At the time the program was initiated the Chief, CWS, dele- 
gated responsibility for its administration to the chief of the Manufactur- 
ing and Supply Division of his office. At the same time he directed that 
an additional officer of company grade be assigned to the War Plans 
Division at Edgewood Arsenal to assist in the administration of the pro- 
gram. This procedure was followed throughout the life of the contracts. 

The Munitions Program 

If the educational order program permitted the CWS to take the first 
faltering step in an accelerated procurement program in the emergency 

9 AG Memo for Record on CWS Educational Order Program, 8 May 41. CWS 314.7 Edu- 
cational Order Program File. 



Table 4— CWS Educational Orders Program, FY 1939, 1940 & 1941 Sum- 
mary of Awards 

Items & Awardcc 


Cost of 

Cost of 
Gages, Jigs, 
M. fit E. 

Cost of 

Amount of 

10, 000 

328, 269 

362, 986 

3253, 283 



64, 500 

270, 159 


339, 669 

1U, UUU 

14, 580 

73, 336 


88, 166 


96, 312 

222, 600 

2, 000 

320, 912 


76, 090 



283, 990 


173, 250 

201, 300 

3, 850 


36, 000 

19, 800 

232, 614 


252, 716 


8, 880 

48, 800 

1, 500 

59, 180 

12, 000 

9, 840 

48, 470 


59, 060 

3, 000 

8, 820 

34, 200 


43, 520 



104, 725 


146, 218 


78, 640 

96, 521 

2, 500 

177, 661 


42, 446 

90, 853 


135, 049 


39, 950 

94, 705 


135, 155 



102, 654 


151, 754 


72, 286 





4, 429 



24, 429 


4, 429 



24, 429 


6, 669 

53, 766 


60, 935 


6, 602 



61, 627 

Service Gas Mask Assembly 

Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. . . 

Firestone Tire & Rubber Co. . . 

Johnson & Johnson 

Gas Mask Carrier 

Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. . . 
Non-Coconut Charcoal 

Barnebey-Cheney Eng. Co 

Carlisle Lumber Co 


E. I. du Pont de Nemours & Co 
Canister Components 

Milwaukee Stamping Co 


Firestone Tire & Rubber Co . 

Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co, . . . 
Optical Faceblanks 

Acushnet Process Co 

Noncombatant Gas Mask 

Kember-Thomas Co 

Sprague Specialties Co 

Eureka Vacuum Cleaner Co. . . . 

Pitt. St. Fix. & Eq. Co 

B.K.B. Co 

Shoe Impregniu 

Baldwin Laboratories, Inc 

Filter Paper 

Knowlton Brothers 

John A, Manning Paper Co. . . . 

Barnebey-Cheney Eng. Co 

Carlisle Lumber Co 

Source: All the data in this chart, with the exception of the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. assembly contract, were taken 
from a study prepared by the Purchase Policies Branch, OC CWS, in 1945, entitled Analysis of Chemical Warfare Service 
Pricing Record World War II, p. 34. CWS 314.7 Educational Order Program File. This study makes no reference to 
the Goodyear assembly contract, which was the first contract under the Educational Order Program. The data on this 
contract were obtained in 1949 in a file of the Procurement Agency, Army Chemical Center. 


Table 5 — Cost to Government of Gas Mask Educational Program 


Total coat 

Item cost 

Mach. & 





32, 643, 888 

3625, 061 

31,987, 925 

330, 902 

Service gas mask assembly 

- 20,000 

667, 940 

127, 487 

523, 453 


Gas mask carrier 


88, 166 

14, 580 

73, 136 


250 tons 

604, 902 

172, 402 

429, 500 


190 tons 

122, 563 

13, 272 

108, 291 



252, 717 

19, 800 




118, 240 

18, 720 

97, 270 

2, 250 

Optical faceblanks 


43, 520 


34, 200 



745, 840 

249, 930 

489, 460 


° Thia figure doea not include the 3,000 masks procured under the Goodyear Tire & Rubber contract listed tn |Tab1e 4, 
aince full coat data were not available. 

Source: Data in thia chart were obtained from Analyst* of Chemical Warfare Service Pricing Record in World War II, 
p. 35, prepared in 1945 by the Purchase Policies Branch, OC CWS. 

period, the Munitions Program of 30 June 1940 and the subsequent ap- 
propriation acts which the Congress passed to finance that program 
enabled the service to advance to the toddling stage. The Munitions Pro- 
gram was a requirements and fiscal plan worked out by the War Depart- 
ment, the Advisory Commission to the Council of National Defense, and 
the President. 10 It became the new overall guide for all procurement 

In August 1939, when the war clouds were hanging heavy over Europe, 
the War Department undertook a quick review of its plans for emergency 
action. In this connection the Assistant Secretary of War called the chiefs 
of the technical services to his office on 19 August and outlined three 
more or less distinct phases through which the nation might pass in the 
change from peace to war. These phases were: 

1. A period of neutrality when peacetime legislation was in effect and 
only current appropriations available. 

2. A national emergency declared by the President and provisions of 
Section 120 of the National Defense Act invoked. 

3. A declaration of war by the Congress. 

The Assistant Secretary then listed a number of actions which his office 
or the Army and Navy Munitions Board would initiate in each of the 

10 (1) For details on the Munitions Program see Watson, Chief of Staff: Prewar Plans and 
Preparations, pp. 166-82, 318-21. (2) Smith, The Army and Economic Mobilization, pp. 126-33. 



three periods and requested the chiefs of the supply services to send him 
a list of the steps they individually planned. 11 

Maj. Gen. Walter G Baker, in his reply to this request on 21 August 
1939, stated that during the present period of neutrality— Phase I— he was 
taking measures to: (1) accelerate all current procurement and educational 
orders then being planned; (2) round out Edgewood Arsenal; (3) request 
the removal of the field artillery garrison at Fort Hoyle, Md., and the 
incorporation of that reservation into Edgewood Arsenal; (4) present plans 
for the establishment of an additional manufacturing arsenal with neces- 
sary storage and range facilities; (5) freeze all completed specifications and 
drawings and expedite the completion of all others; (6) review and perfect 
plans for accomplishing and controlling procurement in war; (7) request 
funds to accumulate stockpiles of strategic materials; and (8) request the 
detail of selected Reserve officers for training in key positions connected 
with procurement. 

Passing on to the second phase, that of the state of a national emer- 
gency, the Chief, CWS, said that he would: (1) request additional funds 
for carrying out requirements of the initial stages of a war; (2) start the 
construction of a new arsenal; (3) utilize to the greatest extent possible 
the productive capacity of industry; (4) prepare a war budget for the pos- 
sible prosecution of a war through the second year; and (5) request a 
detail of additional selected Reserve officers for training in key positions 
connected with procurement. 

Coming to the final phase, when the nation would be at war, General 
Baker listed only two steps: (1) the acceleration of all procurement pro- 
grams in both government arsenals and commercial plants, and (2) the 
revision of existing procurement plans for a possible second year of war. 12 

During Phase I, the period of neutrality, the Assistant Secretary of 
War, Louis Johnson, personally took steps to insure that increased re- 
quirements for chemicals would be met in the event of war. Acting upon 
a suggestion of Edward M, Allen, president of the Manufacturing Chemists 
Association, he recommended early in 1939 that a national defense com- 
mittee be set up to assist the War and Navy Departments in perfect- 
ing plans for utilizing the chemical industry should war break out. 13 

11 Memo, Dir Ping Br OASW for Cs Supply Arms and Services, 19 Aug 39, sub: Acceleration 
of Plans for Procurement. CWS 381/247-260 re War Plans. 

12 Ltr, C CWS to ASW, 21 Aug 39, sub: Procurement Planning CWS in Certain Contingen- 
cies. CWS 381/247-260. 

"This information is contained in Ltr, Louis Johnson, Asst SW to E. M. Allen, 30 Mar 39. 
CWS 314.7 Chemical Advisory Committee to ANMB File. 



Members of the Chemical Advisory Committee receiving Army Certificates 
of Appreciation from Brig. Gen, Alden H. Waitt, November 1945. From left (front): 
Charles S. Munson, Warren N. Watson, James W. McLaughlin, Harry L. Derby, 
General Waitt, Col. Harry A, Kuhn. From left (back): George W. Merck, Lammot 
du Font. 

Mr. Allen, who was also the civilian chief of the New York Chemical Pro- 
curement District, had suggested that the district advisory committee be 
designated the Chemical Advisory Committee to the Army and Navy Muni- 
tions Board. This suggestion was adopted and from early 1939 until after 
the close of World War II the committee, whose members were leading 
representatives of the chemical industry, met monthly in Washington or 
New York. 14 Liaison officers from the Army and Navy Munitions Board, 
the Ordnance Department, and the CWS attended the meetings. A rep- 
resentative from the Advisory Commission to the Council of National 
Defense and, later, one from the War Production Board, were often in 
attendance. 15 

14 Members of the committee were: H. L. Derby, chairman, E. M. Allen, H. F. Atherton, 
Charles Belknap, Willard H, Dow, Lammot du Pont, J. W. McLaughlin, George W. 
Merck, Charles S. Munson, and Warren H, Watson. 

15 Minutes of the meetings of the Chemical Advisory Committee are in files of the Manufac- 
turing Chemists Association. Reproduction of these minutes and other data are in CWS 314.7 
Chemical Advisory Committee File. 



Upon its activation the committee called the attention of the War 
Department to the fact that its members might be suspected of conspiring 
to violate the federal antitrust acts. The War Department sought the 
opinion of the Attorney General of the United States on this matter. The 
Attorney General ruled that reports made by the Chemical Advisory Com- 
mittee to the Army and Navy Munitions Board were considered confidential 
in nature and were therefore not subject to subpoena or investigation by 
other government agencies. 16 In other words, the recommendations of the 
committee were placed in the same category as war plans. 

In 1939 and 1940 the committee set up fifteen commodity subcommit- 
tees which were responsible for making reports and recommendations to 
the parent committee. The reports covered such matters as consumption 
of specific chemicals by industries, means for transporting specific chem- 
icals, and suggested locations for new plants. On the basis of production 
statistics and estimated industrial capacity furnished by the subcommittee 
as well as through statistics on military requirements furnished by the 
military services, the committee made recommendations on allocation of 
chemicals to the Army and Navy Munitions Board. Largely because of assist- 
ance which the Chemical Advisory Committee rendered during the emer- 
gency and war periods, chemical facilities were erected at the proper loca- 
tions and the turnaround time on railroad cars carrying chemicals was cut 
down. 17 

Another development that facilitated preparations for chemical war- 
fare under the Munitions Program was the receipt of pertinent informa- 
tion from the British. The assistant military attache in London in the 
emergency period, a CWS officer, obtained access to data on development 
and production methods for chemical warfare items, on British smoke 
operations for screening critical installations, on the effects of incendiary 
bombing, and on the types of German incendiaries dropped on London. 

16 The ruling of the Attorney General is discussed in Ltr, Col Charles Hines, Secy ANMB to 
E. M. Allen, 17 Jul 40. In files of Chlorine Institute, New York City. 

17 (1) Interv, Hist Off with Charles S. Munson, who served on the Chemical Advisory Com- 
mittee, 21 Jan 58. (2) Interv, Hist Off with Col Harry A. Kuhn, USA Ret, 20 Nov 57. Col. 
Kuhn was liaison officer to the Committee for CWS. (3) Ltr, E. R. Weidlein to Hist Off, 31 
Jan 58. Mr. Weidlein was Chief of the Chemical Div of the Advisory Commission to the Council 
of Nat'l Defense and later Chief of the Chemical Div, WPB. (4) Ltr, E. W. Reid to Hist Off, 
26 Feb 58. Mr. Reid succeeded Mr. Weidlein as Chief of Chemical Div, WPB. (5) Interv, Hist 
Off with Wilbur F. Sterling, 29 Apr 58. Mr. Sterling served as contact officer of ANMB to the 
Chemical Advisory Committee. (6) Minutes of the Meetings of the Chemical Advisory Com- 
mittee. On 8 Dec 42, Robert P. Patterson, USW, and James Forrescal, USN, attended a meeting 
of the committee. Both expressed appreciation for the achievements of che committee to dace 
and requested that the committee be continued during and after the war. 



This information he sent to the Office of the Chief or to Edgewood 


The Munitions Program would of course be merely an academic exercise 
without the money to implement it. As early as the fall of 1939 the Chief, 
CWS, again made an urgent appeal to the General Staff to take imme- 
diate steps to secure authorization and funds for rounding out the plant 
facilities at Edgewood Arsenal. Both the Assistant Chiefs of Staff, G-3 
and G-4, concurred in the recommendation of the Chief, CWS, and sug- 
gested that a deficiency appropriation of approximately $5,500,000 be re- 
quested for this purpose. 18 This proposed request was conceived of just 
half a year ahead of the time when the Bureau of the Budget was in a 
mood to approve it. The temper of the bureau with regard to such re- 
quests was demonstrated by its action early in January 1940 when it 
excluded from the President's budget for fiscal year 1941 all supplemental 
estimates covering the "Critical Item Program," the "Essential Item Pro- 
gram," and the "Arsenal and Depot Facilities Program." 19 This was the 
winter of the "phony war" in Europe, and neither the Bureau of the 
Budget nor Congress was convinced of the need for greater expenditures 
for the Army. Hitler's invasion of Denmark and Norway in April and of 
the Low Countries and France in May changed their minds. 20 

Notwithstanding the action of the Bureau of the Budget in January 
1940 the General Staff did not relax its efforts to gather all information 
possible on munition shortages preparatory to future requests for funds. 
On the very day after the Bureau of the Budget's action, for example, 
General Marshall requested G-4 to furnish him with a half page state- 
ment on Edgewood Arsenal, to include the approximate amount that had 
been invested in the installation along with additional "pieces" that the 
CWS might wish to add. The Chief of Staff wanted this information to 
enable him to withstand "pressure to reduce appropriations for Edgewood 
Arsenal in order to promote a large brand new arsenal somewhere else." 
In compliance with General Marshall's request he was furnished with the 
following information: Edgewood Arsenal was the only chemical warfare 
research, manufacturing, and chemical storage installation in the United 

1K Memo, ACofS G-3 for ACofS G-4, 10 Oct 39, sub: Status of Chemical Warfare Facilities. 
OCG, ASF-Edgewood Arsenal, Md. 

19 Watson, Chief of Staff: Prewar Plans and Preparations, p. 163, quoting Memo, SGS for 
AC'sofS, 10 Jan 40, sub: War Department Estimates, FY 1941. 

20 Ibid., pp. 164-66. 



States. The arsenal plants, with the exception of the gas mask assembly 
plant, were of the experimental type and not suitable for meeting the 
needs of the Initial Protective Force. The cost of constructing and main- 
taining the arsenal since 1917 was estimated at $43,600,000, with deteri- 
oration due to budgetary limitations at $29,100,000, making the value of 
the facilities as of January 1940, $14,500,000. The value of the existing 
stocks at the arsenal was put at $31,300,000. It was estimated that it 
would cost $5,000,000 to remove the stocks to a new arsenal. Therefore, 
it was planned to spend $5,400,000 to round out the plants at Edgewood 
Arsenal to enable it to meet the needs of the peacetime and the Initial 
Protective Force. The cost of a new arsenal of equivalent capacity was 
placed at $21,000,000 plus 8 to 10 million more for land. These data, ac- 
cording to the Acting Executive, Supply Division, were to be placed 
in the Chief of Staffs small information book where it would be con- 
sidered confidential. 21 

The events in Europe in the spring of 1940 had their effect and by 
May the President and the Congress were in a very liberal mood indeed 
with regard to military appropriations. 22 On 16 May the President deliv- 
ered in person a special message to the Congress on the need for supple- 
mental outlays for national defense. On 13 June he signed the Military 
Appropriation Act of 1941 which provided for vast increases in military 
expenditures, and less than two weeks later, on 26 June, the first of five 
supplemental to the National Defense Appropriation Act of 1941. 23 The 
President had meanwhile received advice from General Marshall and 
William S. Knudsen, the newly appointed production authority on the 
Council of National Defense, on how this appropriated money was to be 
spent. Their decisions were embodied in the Munitions Program of 30 
June 1940. 

The appropriations to the CWS for fiscal year 1941 totaled $60,092,- 
532. 24 This figure was in contrast to the $2,091,237 appropriated for the 
previous fiscal year. The increased appropriations gave the CWS the green 
light to carry out its planned procurement and construction, and these 
programs got into actual operation in the summer of 1940. 

21 Memo, Actg Exec Supply Div G-4, 11 Jan 40, sub: Information for CofS. OCG, ASF- 
Edgewood Arsenal, Md. 

22 (1) Watson, The Chief of Staff: Prewar Plans and Preparations, p. 1 66. (2) For inter- 
national background, see William L. Langer and S. Everett Gleason, The Challenge to Isolation 
1937-1940 (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1952), chs. XV and XVI. 

23 P.L. 611, 76th Cong, 3d Sess. 

' 2i Brophy and Fisher, ^Organizing for War, Table 1| 



The amounts appropriated to the CWS were arrived at only after the 
most painstaking calculations. As previously, the CWS passed its estimates 
on to the General Staff, but in June 1940 Mr. Knudsen also become in- 
terested in the estimates. On 11 June Mr. Knudsen informed the Assistant 
Secretary of War that he wanted the answers to two questions: "How 
much munitions productive capacity does this country need and how rapidly 
must it become available?" 25 That Mr. Knudsen did not confine his at- 
tention solely to the broad aspects of these questions is shown by the 
fact that on the very day he made his inquiry he personally received a 
reply from the Chief, CWS, listing quantities and unit prices of critical 
items as approved by the War Department for procurement and manu- 
facture by CWS, as well as supplemental lists of critical and essential 
items. 26 Six days later the Chief, CWS, in a memorandum to the Assist- 
ant Secretary of War, gave detailed data on the new arsenal and plant 
facilities that would be needed to meet the requirements of the PMP 
(1,000,000 men), and its augmentation to 4,000,000 men, and requested 
that the data be passed on to Commissioner Knudsen, who was evidently 
anxious to get the facts. 27 The Chief, CWS, listed the rehabilitation of 
Edgewood Arsenal which he estimated would require 15 months to com- 
plete, a new $21,000,000 arsenal to require 18 months, and $5,000,000 worth 
of government owned plants in industry to require 15 months to complete. 

Facilities Expansion Gets Under Way 

In July 1940 G-4 listed the immediate objectives of the CWS, under the 
Munitions Program in the following order of importance: first, rounding 
out Edgewood Arsenal; second, placing approved educational orders in indus- 
try (already considered above); and third, preparing plans for obtaining 
manufacturing plants in industry other than those covered by educational 
orders. 28 

The Appropriation Act for fiscal year 1941 carried an item of $918,988 
for The Quartermaster General "for work authorized by the Act of June 4, 

25 Memo, Ex Asst to ASW for ASW, 13 Jun 40, sub: National Policy on Munitions Productive 
Capacity. CWS 381/247-260 (War Plans). Also quoted in Watson, The Chief of Staff: Prewar 
Plans and Preparations, p. 174. 

26 Memo, C CWS for W. S. Knudsen, 11 Jun 40, sub: Expenditure Program, CWS. CWS 
381/247-260 (War Plans). A handwritten note on the margin of the carbon copy states that 
the memo was handed to Mr. Knudsen personally by Col A. M. Heritage, CWS, at 3:10 P.M. 

- T Memo, ExO OCWS for ASW, Attn Col Harry K. Rutherford, 17 Jun 40, sub: Munition 
Production Capacity, CWS. CWS 381/247-260 (War Plans). 

28 Memo, ACofS G-4 for CofS, 16 Jul 40, sub: Chemical Warfare Manufacturing Facilities at 
U.S. Nitrate Plant No. 1. G-4/30645. 



1936 (49 Stat 1462) at Edgewood Arsenal, Maryland." 29 This was for con- 
struction of badly needed storage facilities. The First Supplemental to the 
Appropriation Act, signed on 26 June 1940, made the sum of $3,060,300 
available to the Chief, CWS, for rounding out and rehabilitating Edge- 
wood Arsenal. 30 These two appropriations of June 1940 enabled the CWS 
to initiate a program of construction which its chiefs had been advocating 
for years. 31 

In August 1940, General Baker, the Chief, CWS, directed Maj. Walter J. 
Ungethuem, chief of his War Plans Division, to supervise all construction 
activities at Edgewood. In September actual construction of new manu- 
facturing plants was initiated under contracts drawn up by The Quarter- 
master General with the architect-engineering firm of Whitman, Requardt, 
and Smith of Baltimore and two construction companies, Riggs-Distler Co. 
of Philadelphia and Cummings Construction Co. of Baltimore. In Novem- 
ber the General Staff ordered the erection of new troop barracks and gave 
approval to a CWS recommendation to enlarge the Chemical Warfare 
School. In the same month the long planned rehabilitation program of the 
deteriorating structures at Edgewood Arsenal was begun. All this building 
activity in the winter of 1940-41 resembled in scope that of 1917-18, when 
the arsenal was originally constructed. Although the forces of nature were 
considerably kinder in 1940-41 than they had been in 1917-18, winter days 
at Edgewood are often not too pleasant for outside work. 32 Since the Sec- 
retary of War insisted on the speedy consummation of construction proj- 
ects, the commanding officer directed that work be carried on every day 
regardless of the weather. 33 It was not without significance that the funds 
in the Assistant Secretary's Office from which the CWS was allotted the 
money for arsenal construction were earmarked "Expediting Production 
Funds." The Chief, CWS, was constantly reminded of the importance of 
speed on this program. 

By December 1941 the initial phase of the construction program at 
Edgewood was virtually completed. Old plants had been rehabilitated and 

29 WD Bull 11, 15 Jul 40, summarizes grants under the regular Appropriation Act for FY 
1941 (P.L. 611, 76th Cong). 

30 (1) P.L. 667, 76th Cong. (2) Ltr, C CWS to USW, 9 Jan 41, sub: Defense of Procure- 
ment Activities Under Various 1941 Appropriations. CWS 400.12/6. 

:il See Rpts of CWS from 1931-38. 

32 This statement is based on detailed climatological data for the periods 1917-18 and 1940-41, 
furnished by G. N. Brancato, Meteorologist in Charge, U.S. Department of Commerce, Weather 
Bureau, Baltimore, Md. 

33 Ltr, Col W. J. Ungethuem, USA Ret, to Hisr Off, 18 Jun 51. 


a number of new facilities had been erected. These included manufactur- 
ing and filling plants, a new steam plant and distribution system, an 
entirely new sewage system with pumping stations and disposal plant, a 
research and development center, an airplane runway, a dock on Bush 
River, paved roads, new railroads, a new wing on the Chemical Warfare 
School, additions to the post headquarters building, several troop barracks, 
and two new training fields. 34 In addition, new depot facilities had been 
erected. 35 The actual cost of rehabilitation and construction came to over 
$34,000,000. 36 Within a period of sixteen months a considerable face lift- 
ing had taken place at Edgewood. 

Government-Owned Contractor-Operated Plants 

The preparation of plans for securing manufacturing plants in indus- 
try, which G-4 listed as one of the chief objectives of the CWS under 
the Munitions Program, was accomplished in 1940 and 1941. Under the 
Second Supplemental to the 1941 Appropriations Act, approved on 9 Sep- 
tember 1940, funds were allotted to the CWS to erect plants for private 
industry in order to expedite production. 37 The procedure was for the gov- 
ernment to build the plants which would be operated under contract with 
private industry. Both the Ordnance Department and the Chemical War- 
fare Service followed the practice extensively. 38 The CWS built charcoal 
and whetlerite plants and plants for the manufacture of impregnite (CC-2) 
under this program. 39 

Construction was begun on the first of these plants, a charcoal-whetler- 
ite plant at Zanesville, Ohio, in December 1940 on the property of the 
Barnebey-Cheney Engineering Co. 40 The whetlerite portion of this plant 

™ (1) Annual Rpt, CW Center, EA, Md., FY 1942. Technical Library A CmlC, Md. (2) 

Appendix A. 

For details see below, |p. 381. | 

36 See | app. A\ 

37 P.L. 781, 76th Cong, 3d Sess. 

■ 1fi (1) ICAF R 83, Construction of New Facilities, January 1957, p. 47. ICAF Library. (2) 
Smith, The Army and Economic Mobilization, pp. 437-55. 

39 (1) Charcoal and whetlerite plants were in addition to similar plants built under educational 
order contracts. (2) Construction responsibility was divided between the Quartermaster and the 
Corps of Engineers until December 1941 when all construction activities were put under the lat- 
ter. In the case of Ordnance and CWS plants, the using service was given the prerogative of select- 
ing a prime contractor as management agent during the construction and during the operation of 
the completed facility. Jesse A. Remington and Lenore Fine, Construction in the United States, a 
Corps of Engineers volume in preparation for the series UNITED STATES ARMY IN WORLD 
WAR II, ch, II, p. 50. 

40 A charcoal- whetlerite plant had already been constructed on the Barnebey-Cheney property 
at Columbus, Ohio, under an educational order. This plant processed the charcoal of all the pro- 
ducers until other plants were put in operation. 



was completed by 5 January 1942 and turned over for operation to the 
Pittsburgh Coke and Chemical Co. In April 1941 construction of a second 
charcoal- whetlerite plant was started at Fostoria, Ohio. This was completed 
by the beginning of 1942 and turned over to the National Carbon Co. 41 
In February 194 1, meanwhile, work had begun on the erection of impreg- 
nite plants at Niagara Falls, N.Y., East St. Louis, 111., and Midland, Mich. 
These three plants were designed by Du Pont. The Du Pont Co. had been 
awarded an educational order contract in 1940 for an impregnite plant at 
Niagara Falls, N.Y. 42 At that time the Du Pont engineers had consulted 
CWS engineers and had surveyed the model impregnite plant at Edge- 
wood Arsenal whose basic design had been drawn up by the Du Pont 
Co. 43 The plant which Du Pont constructed under the educational order 
contract thus represented the combined thinking of the CWS and Du Pont. 
On the basis of its experience in constructing the educational order plant 
the Du Pont Co. was awarded the contract to design the other impreg- 
nite plants. Du Pont itself was given the additional impregnite plant at 
Niagara Falls to operate, Monsanto Chemical Co. the East St. Louis plant, 
and Dow Chemical Corp. the Midland plant. The Site Location Board of 
the Office of the Assistant Secretary of War and the Advisory Commis- 
sion to the Council of National Defense had to approve the sites for all 
these plants. 44 

Government-Owned and -Operated Plants and Arsenals 

By the summer of 1941. the immediate objectives of the Munitions Pro- 
gram in the CWS were well on the way to realization and the service 
began to concentrate on some of the less urgent objectives. Among the 
latter were the construction of government plants for the impregnation of 
clothing, new government arsenals for the manufacture and filling of chemi- 
cal warfare munitions, and additional storage space for the mass of new 
items being procured. In May 1941 the government awarded a contract to 

41 Interv, Hist Off with Sebastian W. Kessler, 11 Dec 57. Mr. Kessler was CWS engineer 
on construction of rharrnal-wherlerite plants and he supervised their initial operation. 

42 See abovc pTable 4.| 

4:1 (1) Interv, Hist Off with Col Robert D. McLeod, 12 Apr 54. Colonel McLeod, then a 
captain, was in charge of the CC-2 pilot plant at Edgewood in 1940. (2) Ltr, Brig Gen T. H. 
Marshall to Hist Off, 24 Jan 57. During World War II Marshall was on the Staff of the Tech- 
nical Division, OC CWS. 

44 Memo, Col James H. Burns, OASW, for C CWS, 11 Jul 40, sub: Procedure on Munition 
Plant Construction Program, Awarding of Contracts and Supervision of Performance Thereunder. 
CWS 381/247-260. 



the American Laundry Machinery Co. to design, construct, and install four 
plants to impregnate clothing at Columbus, Ohio; Ogden, Utah; Kansas 
City, Mo.; and New Cumberland, Pa. These government-owned and -oper- 
ated plants, with the exception of the one at Ogden, were completed by 
15 December 1941. The Ogden plant was dismantled before it was com- 
pleted and shipped to England where it was erected at the Blythe Colour 
Works, Cresswell, near Stoke-on-Trent. 45 

The War Department, meanwhile, began to erect additional CW arse- 
nals. In the years of peace, as mentioned above, the CWS had planned 
for one additional wartime arsenal in the central or western section of the 
United States. 46 On 30 April 1941 General Baker, in his final report to 
the Chief of Staff, again brought up the matter saying that he could not 
"stress too strongly the absolute necessity for the immediate authorization 
and construction of additional facilities other than those at Edgewood 
Arsenal at a location west of the Allegheny Mountains." 47 General Baker 
added that he knew consideration was being given to the construction of 
a new arsenal, but that to date no positive action had been taken. 

Positive action was not taken until May 1941 when General Baker's 
successor, General Porter, became the sixth chief of the CWS. At that 
time several sites in the interior of the United States were being surveyed 
for a suitable location for a CWS arsenal. 48 On 18 June, Porter recom- 
mended selection of one of those sites, a stretch of flat lowland in the 
fertile valley of the Tennessee River near Huntsville, Ala. 49 The War 
Department approved General Porter's recommendation, and on 21 July 
construction of the new arsenal was begun. That same month the arsenal 
was designated an Army installation under command of Col. Rollo C Ditto. 

Lt. Col. Walter J. Ungethuem was transferred from Edgewood Arsenal 
where the building program was nearing completion, to supervise the con- 
struction at Huntsville. Accompanying Ungethuem were several engineers of 
the War Plans Division (later Industrial Engineering Division) of Edge- 
wood Arsenal, who had worked on plans for a new CWS arsenal in the 
late thirties. These included two of the most experienced arsenal engineers 
in the CWS, E. C. Thompson and L. W. Greene. The CWS engineers 

45 ( 1) History of Pittsburgh CWPD, pp. 242-45. (2) Interv, Hist Off with Brig Gen Clifford 
L. Sayre, 22 Oct 56. Sayre was Chief of the Facilities & Engineering Branch, OC CWS, in World 
War II. m Ltr Brig Gen T. H. Marshall to Hist Off, 24 Jan 57. 

* fi See |ch. X| above. 

47 Ltr, C CWS to CofS, 30 Apr 41, sub: Final Report. CWS 319-1/2183-2449- 

46 History of Huntsville Arsenal from July 1941 to August 1945, p. 3. 

49 Ltr, C CWS to President WD Facilities Board OUSW, 18 Jun 41, sub: Additional Facilities, 
CWS. CWS 679/17. 


General Porter, Chief of Chemical Warfare Service (holding pointer), discussing 
construction problems with General Ditto (left), Colonel Prentiss (right), and General 
Avery (second from right), in General Porter's office, Washington, January 1942, 

worked closely with the engineers of the firm of Whitman, Requardt, and 
Smith of Baltimore, which on 16 July was awarded a contract for archi- 
tectural and engineering services for a new arsenal. On 21 July the Corps 
of Engineers awarded construction contracts to the following firms: C. G. 
Kershaw Contracting Co. of Birmingham, Engineers Limited of San Fran- 
cisco, and Walter Butler Co. of St. Paul. 

The Chief, CWS, in his recommendation for the construction of the 
new arsenal, listed the following facilities: four chemical loading plants, 
a chemical warfare depot, plant storage, laboratories, shops, offices, hospi- 
tals, fire and police protection installations, paved roads, and railroads. 
Construction under this program was getting well under way when the 
war began. The war period was to see the erection of many more facili- 
ties than originally planned. 50 

The decision of the Chief of Staff in the summer of 1941, to place 
entire responsibility for the incendiary bomb program with the CWS led 
to the need for still more facilities. The CWS surveyed industry and drew 
up a number of contracts for the production of these bombs. 51 Since this 

50 See ap pl~Ala nd [b] 

51 See ch.[XV]below. 



country had little experience in the manufacture of incendiaries and since 
there was a growing demand for them by both United States and the British 
forces, the War Department decided that the CWS should also manufac- 
ture and assemble incendiary bombs in government plants. 52 A pilot plant 
was erected at Edgewood, and in the fall of 1941 the Chief, CWS, 
obtained approval to construct an arsenal for this purpose at Pine Bluff, 
Ark., thirty miles southwest of Little Rock. 53 Col. Augustin M. Prentiss 
was named commanding officer of the new installation on 30 September 
1941, and two weeks later the government awarded a contract for facilities 
for manufacturing and assembling incendiary munitions to Sanderson and 
Porter of New York. 54 The CWS arsenal engineers at Huntsville co-oper- 
ated with the contractor in drawing the plans for Pine Bluff Arsenal, 
actual construction of which began on 1 December 1941. As at Hunts- 
ville, many more facilities than originally planned were to be constructed 
at Pine Bluff during World War II. Total cost of construction at Hunts- 
ville came to over $58,431,200 and at Pine Bluff to over $51, 156,748. 55 

Procurement in the Emergency Period 

Even while the new facilities were under construction at Edgewood Arse- 
nal in 1940 and 1941 the manufacturing load rose sharply over that of pre- 
vious years. Greater quantities of mustard gas, tear grenades, decontami- 
nating apparatus, ton containers, 500-pound smoke clusters, smoke pots, 
and airplane smoke tanks were produced. 56 In the summer of 1940 the pro- 
curement districts began to engage in actual procurement, letting contracts 
for such items as 4.2-inch mortar shells, 57 components of the gas mask, and 
for assembling of the mask, charcoal, and smoke mixtures. Contracts were 

52 Ltr, Lt Coi Charles E. Loucks, ExO OC CWS to Brig Gen H. K. Rutherford, OUSW, 26 
Sep 41, sub: Outline of General Plan Incidental to the Procurement of Incendiary Bombs. CWS 

53 This plant at Edgewood turned out the AN-M54 incendiary bombs which were used in Lt. 
Col. James H, Doolittle's raid on Japan, 18 Apr 42. See (1) Ltr, Brig Gen T. H. Marshall to 
Hist Off, 24 Jan 54. Marshall at that time was a captain working on the incendiary bomb pro- 
gram at Edgewood. (2) Seth Q. Kline, Robert E, Patchel, and Charles T. Mitchell, Develop- 
ment of Quick-Opening Cluster Adapters M4, M(5, M6, M7, and M8 for Incendiary Bombs. TDMR 
1015, 16 Apr 45. 

54 Px ne Bluff A rsenal History, vol. I, p. 3. 

55 See japp. B,| 

58 CWS Rpt of Production 1 June 1940 through 30 July 1945. 

57 f 1) Contracts for a limited number of shells were approved for training purposes and to 
build up the overseas reserve. Ltr, C CWS to USW, 9 Jan 41, sub: Defense of Procurement 
Activities Under the Various 1941 Appropriations. CWS 400.12/6. (2) Contracts for mortar 
shells were awarded in January 1941 to one prime and eight subcontractors in the Pittsburgh dis- 
trict. Hist of Pittsburgh CWPD, 1 July 1940 through 30 June 1945, pp. 192-93. 



let to the lowest bidder and the OC CWS had to approve all contracts 
over $10,000. 58 

These increased activities led to organizational changes both in the 
chiefs office and in the installations, 59 In July 1940 separate Procurement 
and Supply Divisions were established in the Office of the Chief and a 
year later, in a major reorganization by the newly appointed chief, General 
Porter, an Industrial Service was activated. Lt. Col. Paul X. English was 
named chief of the Industrial Service and Maj. Norman D. Gillet, chief of 
the Supply Division of the Industrial Service. After the initiation of contrac- 
tual operations in the procurement districts in mid-1940 more Reserve offi- 
cers were called to active duty and the district civilian personnel rolls were 
greatly expanded. District organizations resembling those planned in the 
peace years were put into operation. At Edgewood Arsenal an Arsenal 
Operations Department was activated in December 1940 to supervise manu- 
facture, inspection, and service activities. 60 

Like all elements of the military establishment the CWS in the emer- 
gency period was faced with procurement problems caused by dislocations 
in the national economy. Perhaps the most significant of these problems 
was the low priority rating given chemical warfare items by the Army and 
Navy Munitions Board (ANMB), to which Donald Nelson of the Office 
of Production Management had delegated responsibility for War Depart- 
ment priorities. 61 In the summer of 1941 the board formulated a system 
of priority ratings ranging from A-l-a to A-l-j. Under this system chem- 
ical warfare items came under the low rating of A-l-i, undoubtedly be- 
cause the board did not consider the need for such items as pressing as 
that of other items, which led at times to considerable delay in CWS facili- 
ties and production programs. 62 The construction of the charcoal-whetler- 
ite plants at Zanesville and Fostoria in 1940 was delayed because the CWS 
was given a low priority for structural steel and steel plate, and in 1941 
erection of the new impregnite plants was held up for the same reason. 
In 1941 also a considerable part of the gas mask factory at Edgewood had 
to be shut down temporarily because of low priorities. 63 

58 Ltr, C CWS to CO's PD's and Arsenals, 13 Dec 41, sub: Authority to Contract. CWS 

59 Brophy and Fisher, \0reamzins for Wa r, ch. TT] 

60 Ibid., See chs| V|andlVllfor a detailed discussion. 

61 ASF Annual Rpt for FY 1943, p. 66. 

62 For discussion of ANMB decisions on CWS priorities, see Conference, Manufacturing and 
Procurement Program of the CWS, 27 May 42, p. 6. CWS 314.7 Conferences File. 

63 (1) Advance Weekly Rpt CWS No. 12 to Statistics Br OUSW, 30 Jul 41. (2) Advance 
Weekly Rpt No. 14 to Statistics Br OUSW, 13 Aug 41. Both in CWS 319.1/70. (3) Kessler 
interv, 11 Dec 57. 


Meeting of Chemical Warfare Service Officers to discuss procurement prob- 
lems, Temporary Building F, Washington, B.C., October 1941. From left: Colonel 
Kuhn, Capt. Walter E. Spicer, Lt. Col, Henry Enterline, Col. Patrick F. Powers, Col. 
Hugh W. Rowan, General English, Capt. James H Batte, Col. Sterling E. Whitesides, 
Jr., Col Harry R. Lebkicher, Col. Raymond L. Abel, Lt. Col. John L. Miles. 

Another problem was the shortage of machine tools needed for the com- 
pletion of contracts for components of the gas mask. Like most of the 
prewar procurement and supply problems in the CWS, this problem was 
national in scope. It originated in the large orders which foreign nations 
placed with the American tool builders before Congress had finally gotten 
around to appropriating considerable sums of money for national defense. 
As early as 30 July 1940 the Chief, CWS, expressed concern over the effect 
of the shortage of machine tools on the gas mask contracts. 64 The prob- 
lem was not solved until well into the war period. 

A third problem was the shortage of raw materials needed in the con- 
struction of new facilities and in the manufacture of munitions. With the 
War Department placing emphasis on rehabilitating Edgewood Arsenal 
and on building new plants and arsenals, meeting the raw material needs 
of the construction program was the most important immediate task. But 
shortages of needed materials for munitions also arose and these became 
more acute as time went on. By June 1941 material shortages were con- 

64 Ltr, C CWS co H. H. Pinney, President of E. W. Bliss Co., Brooklyn, N.Y., 30 Jul 40. 
CWS 011/21. 



sidered so serious that the Under Secretary of War inaugurated a program 
in the technical services for the conservation of certain basic materials. 65 
He drew up a list of the strategic and critical materials on the ANMB 
list and a few additional materials which had been placed under allocation 
or priority control by the Office of Production Management. Of particular 
interest to the CWS were aluminum, nickel, manganese, chlorine, rubber, 
copper, steel, cotton duck, and webbing. The Under Secretary directed the 
Chief, CWS, to conduct a continuous study of all specifications with a 
view to eliminating or reducing requirements for strategic materials which 
were under allocation or priority control. Even before receipt of the direc- 
tive the Chief, CWS, had been investigating the possibility of replacing 
strategic materials in gas mask parts with plastic and steel. 66 To supervise 
all matters bearing on priorities, as well as to co-ordinate the growing 
problem of labor relations, a Priorities and Labor Relations Section was 
activated in the Industrial Service of OC CWS in August 1941. 6 7 

Still another problem of expanding procurement activities was plant 
protection. The Federal Bureau of Investigation inspected all War Depart- 
ment and contractors' facilities until the spring of 1941, when the function 
was transferred to the War Department itself. On 12 May the Under Sec- 
retary of War notified the Chief, CWS, of the change and outlined the 
activities to be carried out. He ^stressed the safety features of plant protec- 
tion as well as the need for guarding against sabotage and directed that 
plant protection units be set up in the Office of the Chief and in the pro- 
curement districts. In conformity with this directive, the Chief, CWS, acti- 
vated a plant protection unit in his office in May 1941 and instructed the 
chiefs of the districts to do likewise. 68 

One of the greatest difficulties of the period was meeting the need for 
trained inspectors. In the peacetime years all CWS inspection was carried 
on at Edgewood Arsenal under the supervision of the Inspection, Safety, 
and Proof Division. Inspection was on a 100 percent basis; that is, every 
major component was inspected on the manufacturing line and later each 
finished end item was inspected. In addition to the inspection of items being 

G5 Memo, USW for C CWS, 11 Jun 41, sub: Conservation of Certain Basic and Semi-Finished 
Materials. CWS 381.388. 

66 Memo, ExO OC CWS for USW in reply to request of 11 Jun 41, sub: Conservation of Cer- 
tain Basic and Semi-Finished Materials. CWS 381.388. 

fi7 OC CWS Organ Chart, 20 Aug 41. Capt. Alexander Leggin, a CWS Reserve officer, 
headed this section. 

68 Ltr, C CWS to ExO f s all PD's, 13 May 41, sub: Plant Protection Inspection Service. 
CWS-1D 679-2C/11. 



manufactured, there was a program of surveillance inspection under which 
chemical warfare materiel was periodically checked to determine the extent 
of its stability. This was done by making spot checks on materiel from a 
pilot or production plant or by conducting periodic tests on stocks in stor- 
age. Both the technicians and inspectors at Edgewood were vitally interested 
in these data. 

The increase in CWS manufacturing activities led to the hiring in 1940 
of a greater number of inspectors at Edgewood and in the districts. The older 
inspectors at Edgewood acted as a training unit for the new ones, the dis- 
tricts sending their apprentice inspectors to Edgewood for training before 
sending them out on the job. The concept of 100 percent inspection, as 
carried out at Edgewood Arsenal, was transferred to the districts and the 
new gas mask assembly plants such as that of the Goodyear Tire and Rubber 
Co. at Akron were planned and operated on that basis. During 1941 the 
number of inspectors at Edgewood and in the districts multiplied several 
times. To insure better methods of inspection, an analytical laboratory, a 
physical testing laboratory, and a gauge manufacturing and testing facility 
were set up at Edgewood Arsenal in 1941. 

The increase in inspection activities in 1940 and 1941 led to several 
organizational developments in the chief s office. The most important of 
these were the activation of a Statistical, Inspection, and Specifications 
Section in 1940 and establishment of a separate Inspection Division in 
July 1941. 

Mobilization of the Distribution System 

Procurement of CWS items initiated under the educational order and 
munitions programs expanded still more as a result of the passage of the 
Lend-Lease Act in March 1941. 69 A few weeks after the act was passed, 
the War Department began revising its requirements upward. At the end 
of August President Roosevelt requested the War and Navy Departments 
to submit by 10 September their recommendations on how munitions pro- 
duced in the United States should be distributed as between the United 
States, Great Britain, Russia, and other friendly powers during the period 
30 August 1941 and 30 June 1942. The joint Army-Navy document com- 
piled to fill the President's request became known as the Victory Program. 70 

Gfl For details on effects of Lend-Lease Act on CWS activities, see ch. |XVI| below. 

7IJ ( 1 ) Smith, The Army and Economic Mobilization, pp. 133-39- (2) Watson, The Chief of Staff: 
Prewar Plans and Preparations, ch. XI. (3) M. M. Postan, "History of the Second World War," 
British War Production (London: Longmans, Green & Co, 1952), pp. 238-41. 



Col. Norman D. Gillet 

As CWS procurement grew in 
1940 and 1941 the demand naturally 
arose for more storage space. Late in 
1940 the CWS leased a large ware- 
house in Chicago and early in 1941 
another warehouse in Indianapolis 
for the storage of gas masks acquired 
under the educational order pro- 
gram. Under the provisions of the 
Military Appropriation Act for the 
fiscal year 1941 over $12,000,000 was 
allotted to the Chemical Warfare 
Service for the construction of addi- 
tional storage facilities. In July a 
construction program was initiated 
throughout the continental United 
States and in the overseas depart- 
ments. Included within the depot program were the immediate construction 
of new facilities and the formulation of plans for the construction of addi- 
tional storage space in the future. Two Reserve lieutenants were called to 
active duty to assist Major Gillet, chief of the Supply Division, OC CWS, 
in supervising the program. These officers collected data and drew up plans 
for modern storage depots where space would be utilized to the best possible 
advantage and where the latest handling equipment, such as fork lift trucks, 
would be used on an extensive scale. 

After the enactment of the appropriation legislation the CWS began 
building new storage facilities at Edgewood in September 1940. Within a 
year the following new additions had been made: 6 warehouses, 13 maga- 
zines, 6 igloos, 2 sheds, 1 toxic gas yard, and 1 office. These facilities 
comprised over 360,000 square feet of storage space. 71 Between July 1940 
and May 1941 the CWS acquired additional space in the War Depart- 
ment general depots at Ogden, San Antonio, Memphis, New Orleans, 
Atlanta, and in Panama, Hawaii, and the Philippines. 72 In the latter half 
of 1941 it was necessary to plan and arrange for modern storage depots 
at the new arsenals at Huntsville and Pine Bluff. 73 Actual construction of 

71 Sca ggs, Hist ory of Eastern Chemical Warfare Depot, pp. 21 and 173. 

72 See lapp. A~l 

13 (1) Lcr, C CWS to AG, 6 Oct 41, sub: Storage of 4-lb Incendiary Bomb and 1st Ind, AG, 
112.05 (10-6-41) MC-D, 14 Nov 41. CWS 471.6/29 Conf. (2) Memo, C Fid Svc OC CWS 
to C Ind Svc OC CWS, 13 Nov 41, sub: Incendiary Storage at Pine Bluff and Huntsville. CWS 
314.7 Incendiaries File. 

Table 6 — CWS Depot Storage Space in Operation, December 1941 

[Thousands of Square Feet] 

Net Usable 

opace Category 












Chicago Warehouse 





Edgewood CW Depot 





Indianapolis Warehouse 





New Orleans POE 





New York POE 





San Antonio Gen. Depot . . . 





San Francisco POE 





Shamokin, Pa 





Utah Gen. Depot 





Igloo Magazine 






Edgewood CW Depot 





Utah Gen. Depot. 











Chicago Warehouse 




Edgewood CW Depot 





San Antonio Gen. Depot 









Chicago Warehouse 




Edgewood CW Depot 





Toxic yard (semifinished) 

Edgewood CW Depot 





Source: The figures in this table were compiled from data furnished by Supply Division, OC CWS, in 1946. 

those facilities was not undertaken, however, until early 1942. 74 (Table 6) 
While the Supply Division, OC CWS, was planning new depots and 
acquiring additional storage space, the immediate need arose of furnishing 
gas masks to troops being inducted into the rapidly expanding Army. In 
order to prevent delay in delivery, the Supply Division made arrangements 
to transport the masks and some other equipment directly from the point 

74 (1) See |app. A~] (2) Table 6 shows the amount of CWS storage space as of December 



of manufacture to post, camps, and stations. This direct delivery, which 
characterized the period from the fall of 1940 to early 1942, enabled the 
CWS to carry on its program of depot planning and construction without 
having to expand its current storage activities. During 1941 gas masks and 
gasproofing equipment in considerable quantities were also shipped to 
Puerto Rico, the Canal Zone, the Philippines, and Hawaii. 75 This equip- 
ment was put to good use in the Malinta Tunnel on Corregidor before 
the final surrender of the American troops. 76 

Procurement and supply developments in the two years preceding U.S. 
entrance into war placed the CWS in a better position to meet the de- 
mands of a full-scale conflict. Thanks to the educational order program 
and the Munitions Program of 30 June 1940, the CWS was able to build 
new facilities and undertake procurement in the districts and arsenals. 
Had such construction not been undertaken, the state of CWS prepared- 
ness at the time of the outbreak of war would have indeed been tragic. 
Moreover, by obtaining experience in the production and inspection of 
munitions, drawing up contracts, and storing and issuing equipment, CWS 
personnel— military and civilian— were in a much better position to cope 
with the problems which would confront them after the war got under 
way. The problems that arose, such as shortages of raw materials and low 
priorities, were to continue and become even more acute once the nation 
entered the war. 

75 (1) Ltr, ExO OC CWS to CO Columbus Gen Dep, 19 Feb 41, sub: Shipment of Gas 
Masks. (2) Cablegram, Baker to CmlO Philippine Dept, 8 Apr 41. (3) Memo, CmlO 
Hawaiian Dept for C CWS, 11 Sep 41. (4) Cablegram, Porter to CmlO Philippine Dept, 12 
Sep 41. All in CWS 470.72/181. 

76 Pritchard, Kleber, and Birdsell, Chemicals in Combat. 


More and More of Everything 

CWS procurement and supply activities increased tremendously in World 
War II, reaching proportions never contemplated in the prewar years. Fig- 
ures on dollar value (Table 7) and the production of selected items (Table 

8)\ give some indication of the volume of CWS procurement. Although 
the CWS program was small when compared to those of other technical 
(Chart 1)\ the fact that it amounted to over a billion and a half 


dollars definitely placed it in the class of big business. The CWS procured 
materiel not only for the Army but also for the Navy, as well as for coun- 

Table 7 — Summary of Estimated Dollar Value of CWS Procurement: 

1940-1945 a 

[Thouaandi of Dollars} 

Major Groups 


Jul 40- 
Dcc 41 





All CWS Materiel. 

$1, 746, 


£46, 656 

£207, 209 



$638, 324 



Munitions, other than 




42, 760 



135, 686 







50, 331 



305, 772 



Protective Materiel 



35, 636 

84, 446 



85, 720 















2, 143 




14, 750 






14, 979 



81, 123 



■ Value computed by Hqi, Army Service Forces, from physical quantities of materiel delivered in each year multiplied 
by unit costs in 1945. The data, therefore, reflect physical volume rather than actual cost 10 or total expenditure of funds 
by the government. 

Sourct: Crawford, Cook, and Whiting, Statistics, "Procurement." MS in OCMH. 



Chart l— Total Army Service Forces Estimated Dollar Value of Procure- 
ment Deliveries by Technical Services: l January 1942—31 December 

Billions of Dollars 
10 20 




Source: Crawford, Cook, and Whiting, Statistics, "Procurement," passim. 

tries included in the Lend-Lease Act. The total value of CWS items procured 
for the Navy amounted to about $150,000,000 and for lend-lease countries 
to almost $303 J 000,O00. 1 

Procurement of Service Equipment 

In addition to toxic, incendiary, and smoke ammunition and bombs, as 
well as chemical warfare offensive weapons and equipment, the CWS was 
responsible for the procurement of a variety of service equipment. The 
latter included a truck mounted with a swinging boom crane, a chemical 
service truck, a chemical service trailer, a unit for mixing toxic and incen- 
diary agents in the field, and a set for maintaining and repairing chemical 
warfare equipment in the field. Several of t hese items presented unusual 

problems of development and procurement. 2 {(Table 8) 

The truck, crane, swinging boom, was designed to handle ton contain- 
ers of toxics and was prescribed equipment for airfields where chemical 

1 The figure on Navy procurement was supplied by the Supply and Distribution Div, OC CWS, 
in 1946. The figure on lend-lease was obtained from WD Lend-Lease Transfer, CWS, May 46, 

2 Unless otherwise indicated, discussion of items of service equipment is based on History of 
Chicago CWPD, 1 Jan 45-15 Aug 45; CWS Report of Production 1 Jan 40 through 31 Dec 45, 
pp. 27, 31; and Interv, Hist Off with Lc Col Robert C. Hinckley, 9 Jan 58. Col. Hinckley was 
Chief, Procurement Division, Chicago CWPD in World War II. The CWS procured most of its 
service equipment through that district. 


Table 8 — Expansion in Production of Selected CW Items, World War II 


On Hand as of 
12 Dec 41 «» 

Procured 1 Jan 42 
to 31 Dec 45 * 

Mask, gas 

Set, Antidim 

Ointment, Protective (tubes) 

Curtain, gasproof 

Kit, repair 

Laboratory, Field 

Apparatus, demustardizing (3 gal.). . . . 
Apparatus, decontaminating, P-D. . . . 
Agent, demustardizing, bleach (tons) . . 
Impregnite (Protective clothing) (tons) 
Impregnate (Shoe) Ml (tons) 

WP Smoke (tons) 

H (tons) 

FS (tons) 

CG (tons) 

CNS (tons) 

1 Ton Containers 

Tank, Airplane, Smoke 

Incendiary Bombs, 2, 4, 6, and 10 lbs. 

Mortar Chemical, 4.2" 

Flame Thrower 

5,417, 078 
1, 739, 850 

152, 431 
38, 816 

439, 674 


53, 659 
1, 660 


4, 137 


5, 154 



31, 739,356 
7, 244, 947 

57,542, 597 
741, 998 
819, 334 


230, 297 
4, 561 
33, 307 
15, 242 

78, 207 
82, 451 
23, 370 
1, 588 
89, 980 

124, 181 
254, 793, 060 
8, 498 

Source: * Weekly Report for Chief of Staff, CWS Munitions on Hand as of December 12, 1941. 

6 Crawford, Cook, and Whiting, Statistics, "Procurement," pp. 21-24, and CWS Report of Production 1 Jan 40 through 
31 Dec 45. Because of the inclusion in this column of certain minor items not considered in Crawford, Cook, and Whiting, 
some of the totals shown above differ slightly from those in that study. 

air service companies were stationed. The service companies were responsi- 
ble for delivering toxic, smoke, and incendiary bombs to the apron for 
aircraft loading by Army Air Forces crews. As soon as other services ob- 
served how the unit performed, they began using it on jobs for which it 
had not been intended. For example, it was frequently used to remove 
wrecked aircraft from fields. Projects such as this were simply too heavy 
for the mechanism and the truck frequently broke down. The CWS pro- 
cured the truck, crane, swinging boom, from Gar Wood Associates, Inc., 
Washington, D.C., which developed the telescopic boom and power take- 
off. These were mounted on a 4-ton tractor chassis furnished under sub- 
contract by the Diamond T Co. About 400 of the units were assembled 
at the Diamond T rebuild plant near Detroit. 



The chemical service truck was used to facilitate the loading and han- 
dling of chemical containers, such as smoke tanks, ton containers, and 
55-gallon drums. The Ordnance Department supplied the 6 by 6 chassis 
for the truck while the CWS contracted with several firms for mounting 
the superstructure, which consisted of a monorail frame with a chain hoist, 
chocks, and equipment lockers. Though development and manufacture of 
this item proceeded with no more than an average number of obstacles, 
the task of obtaining priorities for the necessary materials did present a 
knotty problem. The CWS procured more than 3,000 of these trucks dur- 
ing the war. 

Procurement officials experienced some difficulty in getting chemical 
handling and chemical service trailers because of the failure of the chief 
prime contractor, the Saginaw Products Corp. of Saginaw, Mich., to ob- 
tain critical components on time. These trailers resembled the M5 bomb 
trailers which the Saginaw company manufactured for the Ordnance Depart- 
ment in that both types featured a special design on which Saginaw 
Products Corp. held a patent. The special design consisted of two front 
bogie wheels with electrical brakes and a device that enabled the trailer 
to cut loose from its tow truck and come to a stop at a specified point. 
This feature did not always work well. The service trailer, like the service 
truck, was equipped with beam and hoist, while the handling trailer was 
designed to carry toxic containers and smoke tanks. The CWS procured 
over 2,300 of the handling trailers and over 250 of the service trailers. 

The service assembled 114 maintenance repair sets for chemical equip- 
ment at Edgewood Arsenal between August 1942 and July 1945. These 
sets consisted essentially of special tools needed for hand-tool repair of 
flame throwers, collective protectors, air compressors, and portable decon- 
taminating apparatus, as well as gas mask repair tools and test equipment. 
No single item of field equipment supplied by the CWS proved more useful 
to the chemical officer in the field than did this set. 

Procurement of Chemicals 

The CWS was also responsible for procurement in appreciable quanti- 
ties of 374 chemicals in World War II. 3 A few of these, such as toxic 
agents, decontaminating agents, and napalm, were end items. The others 

3 See Consolidated Chemical Commodity Report, 16 Oct 51. The number 374 does not include 
chemicals used for experimental purposes at CWS laboratories, where many more chemicals, some- 
times in insignificant amounts, were used. CWS 314.7 Procurement File. 



were components and process chemicals used in the manufacture of chemi- 
cal warfare items. Although the CWS manufactured certain basic chemi- 
cals such as arsenic trichloride, sodium hypochlorite, and chlorine at its 
own arsenals, it purchased the vast bulk of the basic chemicals from some 
600 firms throughout the United States. Since the home offices of most of 
these companies were in New York City, the OC CWS in November 
1941 decided to centralize preliminary negotiations for procurement of 
chemicals for the incendiary bomb program in that district. 4 A year later 
the entire Chemical Section, Industrial Division, of the chiefs office, was 
transferred from Washington to New York. 5 In the summer of 1944, the 
Chief, CWS, directed that this section be raised to the status of a divi- 
sion to be known as the Chemical Commodity Division, OC CWS. From 
that time until the close of the war this division, whose chief was Col. 
Samuel N. Cummings, supervised the procurement of chemicals at all CWS 
arsenals and procurement districts. 6 

While procurement of most chemicals was usually a simple commer- 
cial transaction, in the case of some half-dozen real complications arose. 
This half-dozen included hexachloroethane for smoke mixture, thermite, 
barium nitrate, barium chromate, magnesium for incendiary bombs, and 
chlorine. 7 

Among the basic chemicals, none was considered more important than 
chlorine, if the extent of CWS planning and the quantity of the item pro- 
cured are taken as criteria. Although chlorine was used on the battlefield 
in World War I, the CWS in the postwar years decided against using it 
as a toxic agent. It was nevertheless an essential component not only of 
other toxic agents, but also of smoke, protective ointment, bleach, and 
other decontaminating substances. In the mid-1930's the CWS began to 
give serious consideration to planning for emergency production of chlo- 
rine. The planners in the Office of the Chief made a study of wartime 
requirements and concluded that it would be necessary to construct an elec- 
trolytic caustic plant at Edgewood Arsenal capable of producing 150 net 
tons of chlorine a day. The CWS believed that its additional war demands 

4 Memo, C Ind Svc, OC CWS, for CO Pittsburgh CWPD, et ai, 5 Nov 41, sub: Procurement 
of Chemicals for Incendiary Bomb Program. CWS 400.171/551. 

5 OC CWS Adm O 6, 6 Nov 42. 

fi (1) Memo, C Ind Div, OC CWS, for all Procurement Districts, 27 Jul 44, sub: Establish- 
ment of a Chemical Commodity Division. CWS 400.12 OC CWS Procurement, Chicago CWPD. 
(2) Interv, Hist Off with Col Samuel N. Cummings, 26 Aug 54. (3) History of Chemical Com- 
modity Procurement, 1 Aug 44-13 Nov 45. 

7 For discussion of procurement of chemicals used in smoke and incendiaries see ch. [XVJbelow. 



of 550 net tons a day could be met by the chlorine industry through ex- 
pansion of existing capacity by 40 percent. In the event of an emergency, 
according to CWS plans, the government would provide funds for expan- 
sion of chlorine plants, but the industry was expected to draw up plans 
for expansion at its own expense. In the fall of 1935 the Chief, CWS, dis- 
closed this idea, in confidence, to the leaders of the chlorine industry. This 
he did by communicating with the president of the Chlorine Institute in 
New York City. The Chlorine Institute found its members receptive to 
the suggestion. 8 

Among the subcommittees of the Advisory Committee to the Army 
and Navy Munitions Board was one on alkali-chlorine. 9 Set up in the fall of 

1939, this subcommittee, whose members were leaders of the industry, 
continued throughout the war to assist the government in meeting de- 
mands for alkali and chlorine products. The subcommittee met periodi- 
cally in New York City. In attendance was a CWS officer, Col. Harry A. 
Kuhn. Kuhn was responsible for gathering statistics on production from 
the manufacturers and passing these on, together with estimates of gov- 
ernment requirements, to the Chemical Advisory Committee. From 16 De- 
cember 1941 to the end of the war a U.S. Naval officer also attended meet- 
ings of the Alkali-Chlorine Subcommittee. 10 

The emergency period witnessed a steadily increasing demand for chlo- 
rine. With the inauguration of its procurement program in the summer of 

1940, the CWS circulated bids for the delivery of some 3,780 net tons to 
Edgewood Arsenal to be used in the manufacture of toxic agents. In 1941 
the demand continued to rise, especially after passage of the Lend-Lease 
Act. On 19 March the Office of Production Management put chlorine on 
the priority critical list, and there it remained throughout the war. By July 
about 30 percent of the country's chlorine was being channeled into war uses. 11 

In the prewar period the CWS had to depend entirely on industry for 
chlorine. This arrangement was not satisfactory for there were delays in 

8 (1) Ltr, C CWS to S. W.Jacobs, [President, Chlorine Institute], 10 Sep 35. This letter gives 
a brief summary of CWS plans. (2) Ltr, S. W. Jacobs to C CWS, 6 Feb 36. Both in files of Chlo- 
rine Inst itute, N ew York City. 

9 See lch7xT1 above. 

10 Minutes of Meetings of the Alkali-Chlorine Committee are in the files of the Chlorine In- 
stitute, New York City. Copies of the most pertinent minutes are in CWS 3 14.7, Chlorine Institute 

11 ( 1 ) "Report on Chlorine Industry," Chemical and Metallurgical Engineering, vol. 5 1 ( 1944) , 
pp. 115-22. (2) Robert T. Baldwin, "Chlorine in World War II," Armed Forces Chemical Journal, 
III (October 1948) , 29-32. (3) Minutes of Meeting of Alkali-Chlorine Subcommittee, 2 Jul 40. 
In files of Chlorine Institute, New York City. 



transporting the chemical. In January 1942, therefore, the War Production 
Board advised the Chemical Warfare Service to obtain chlorine from its 
own facilities. 12 The CWS, as indicated, had made plans in the peacetime 
period for construction of a chlorine plant at Edgewood Arsenal capable 
of producing 150 tons a day. When construction of Huntsville Arsenal 
was undertaken in the summer of 1941, these plans were modified to pro- 
vide for a 100 ton a day plant at Huntsville and a 50 ton a day plant at 
Edgewood. Later a 50 ton plant was built at Pine Bluff and a 100 ton 
plant at Rocky Mountain Arsenal. These plants were thus capable of turn- 
ing out 300 tons of chlorine a day, but because gas warfare did not ma- 
terialize they were not all run to full capacity. Total production at the 
CWS arsenals ran to something less than 370,000,000 pounds. 13 In addi- 
tion to this chlorine, which was used principally in the manufacture of 
toxic agents, the CWS bought over 64,000,000 pounds through the pro- 
curement districts, for use chiefly in the manufacture of decontaminating 
agents and for CC-2 manufactured at the Niagara Falls plant. 14 Some other 
CC-2 plants produced their own chlorine. 15 Wartime consumption of chlo- 
rine, military and civilian, exceeded the estimates of both the peacetime 
planners and of the chlorine industry. From a total of 696,472 tons in 1940, 
production in private industry jumped to a yearly wartime peak of 1,343,956 
tons in 1944. 16 

By the fall of 1943 the CWS had accumulated a surplus of chlorine 
while the civilian demands for the chemical and for its by-product, caustic 
soda, were not being filled. Under an arrangement agreed upon by the War 
Production Board, the Army Service Forces, and the Chemical Warfare Serv- 
ice, CWS arsenals sold excess chlorine and caustic soda to private industry. 17 

Estimating Requirements in Wartime 

A significant feature of the CWS procurement program in World War II 
was the inclusion of several important end items not planned for in the pre- 

12 Notes for Gen Porter ANMB Advisory Committee [Meeting], Cosmos Club [Washington], 
7 Dec 42. CWS 314.7 Advisory Committee File. 

13 Crawford, Cook, and Whiting, Statistics, "Procurement," p. 21. 

14 Consolidated Chemical Commodity Report, 16 Oct 51, p. 74. 

15 Interv, Hist Off with Col Harry A. Kuhn, 27 Jan 58. 

16 Baldwin, "Chlorine in World War II." 

17 ( 1) Memo, Prod Div ASF for C CWS, 20 Aug 43, sub: Solid Caustic Soda. (2) Ltr, Lt Col 
L. W. Munchmeyer, Ind Div, OC CWS to CG Prod Div, ASF, sub: Solid Caustic Soda. (3) Ltr, 
DirofProd Div, ASF for Dir Chemical Div, WPB, 21 Sep 43, sub: Solid Caustic Soda. All in 
files of Planning Div, ASF. (4) Interv, Hist Off with J. C. Leppart, 5 Mar 58. Leppart was with 
the Chemical Div, WPB, in World War II and was instrumental in bringing about the arrange- 
ment on sale of CWS excess supply of chlorine and caustic soda. 



war years. As late as the fall of 1941, CWS requirements under the Victory 
Program made no mention of 4.2-inch mortars, 4.2-inch mortar shells, or 
flame throwers. It listed other gas warfare items, both offensive and de- 
fensive, and certain types of incendiaries, and estimated, sometimes with 
astounding accuracy, the quantities of such material that would be needed 
during the war. 18 The Victory Program, in a word, did an excellent job 
of estimating CWS requirements in terms of the CWS mission as it was 
then envisioned, but it did not (and could not) take into account rami- 
fications of the CWS mission as it developed in 1942. 19 

The Office of the Chief, CWS, estimated requirements for chemical 
warfare items, other than ammunition and toxics, on the basis of the 
planned size and composition of the Army. The size of the Army was 
projected by totals of types of organizations and units and by totals of 
individuals. Each arm and service evolved tables of organization and equip- 
ment for the units under its jurisdiction. Each technical service, including 
the CWS, then worked out tables of basic allowances for each type of or- 
ganization and unit, specifying the material the service would furnish the 
organization or unit as a whole and the individuals within the unit. The 
total material to be provided under tables of basic allowances therefore 
comprised the initial issue requirement for items provided by the service. 
Early in the war factors for resupply, maintenance, and distribution were 
assigned rather haphazardly. The total of the items required under these 
factors plus the initial issue requirement equaled the first procurement ob- 
jective of the service. Ammunition requirements were computed on the 
basis of the unit of fire per weapon. Units of fire were determined by the 
War Department General Staff, in co-operation with the Army Ground 
Forces and the Army Service Forces, on the basis of the firing potential 
of each weapon as adjusted by contemplated usage of weapon in opera- 
tion. The unit of fire method of determining requirements was only as 
good as the estimate of operational usage, which proved a poor basis for 
computation prior to the availability of experience data. Toxic requirements 
during World War II were determined by the United States Chemical 
Warfare Committee. 20 

All chemical warfare requirements were subject to review by the War 
Department General Staff (G-4), and later by Headquarters, ASF, before 

18 Joint Board Estimate of United States Overall Production Requirements 11 Sep 41. [Victory 
Program] Jt Bd No. 355 Ser. 707. 

19 See Brophy and Fisher, Organizing for War f \ch. ILp 

20 See Brophy and Fisher, Organizing for War r \cK7VT\ for discussion of USCWC 



being passed on to the Munitions Assignments Board and other agencies 
of the Joint and Combined Chiefs of Staff. In the summer of 1941 when 
the computation of requirements was beginning to assume the proportions 
of a major activity, the Chief, CWS, established a separate Planning Di- 
vision in his office to perform this function. 

In November 1941 Brig. Gen. Brehon B. Somervell was appointed As- 
sistant Chief of Staff, G-4, War Department General Staff This appoint- 
ment was to have a marked effect on the development of requirements 
procedures as well as on all procurement and supply activities in the Army. 
The new G-4 soon came to learn that civilian agencies responsible for 
determining the production capabilities of the nation for war, such as the 
Office of Production Management (OPM), were critical of the Army's es- 
timates of requirements. Somervell came to the conclusion that what the 
Army needed was a single comprehensive report reflecting military needs 
and the ability to fill such needs. Such a report was devised in early 1942 
in the form of the Army Supply Program, which listed estimated require- 
ments for two and sometimes three years ahead. This directive, issued pe- 
riodically and in several parts, was the overall Army directive for 
procurement and supply during the first two years and more of the war. 

When General Somervell was appointed commanding general of the 
Army Service Forces in March 1942 he took most of his G-4 organiza- 
tion with him. From that time until the end of the war the CWS, as a 
technical service of the Army, usually reported directly to ASF headquarters 
on procurement and supply activities. 21 

The day war was declared on Japan the Planning Division, OC CWS, 
was combined with the Fiscal Division. 22 Computing requirements was 
apparently considered so closely related to fiscal matters that both activi- 
ties were put under the jurisdiction of a single agency, the new Fiscal and 
Planning Division. Whatever the seeming justification, there were serious 
drawbacks to the arrangement. This the War Department came to realize, 
and in August 1942 it directed that fiscal officers confine their activities 
strictly to fiscal and budgetary matters. 23 

Actually the estimating of supply requirements was more closely re- 
lated to the drawing up of operational plans than to fiscal matters. The 

21 (1) John D. Millett, The Organization and Role of the Army Service Forces, UNITED 
STATES ARMY IN WORLD WAR II (Washington, 1954), pp. 1-8. (2) Smith, The Army and 
Economic Mobilization, ch. VII. (3) SOS, Administrative Order (Adm O) 38, 16 Sep 42. 

22 OC CWS Off O 40, 8 Dec 41. 

23 WD Cir 280, 21 Aug 42. 



decision of the chiefs office to set up a Field Requirements Branch in the 
Operations Division in the fall of 1942 was therefore sound. As part of 
the reorganization of General Porter's Office in May 1943 the Field Re- 
quirements Branch was raised to the status of a division under the juris- 
diction of the Assistant Chief, CWS, for Field Operations, General Waitt. 24 
It had final responsibility for chemical warfare requirements until the end 
of the war. While the Field Requirements Division had ultimate respon- 
sibility for chemical warfare requirements for the ground forces, two other 
elements of the chiefs office, the Supply Division and the Control Divi- 
sion, worked on the computation of those requirements. The Supply Di - 
vision needed requirements data in order to carry out its mission of storing 
and issuing materiel, while the Control Division had the responsibility of 
correlating all statistical data transmitted from the OC CWS to higher 
echelons. With the inauguration of the supply control system throughout 
the ASF in March 1944, the CWS set up a Materiel Planning Branch 
and a Requirements Planning Committee to work on requirements. 25 

Three factors had to be considered in calculating supply requirements 
during the first two years of the war— initial equipment, maintenance, and 
building up a reserve of material. Special difficulty arose in calculating 
maintenance and reserve factors because there was no field experience on 
which to base estimates, which were at times nothing more than educated 
guesses. The problem was not confined to the CWS but was general 
throughout the Army, and occupied the attention of ASF headquarters 
throughout most of 1943. 

The CWS confined itself to estimating requirements for the ground 
forces, leaving the task of estimating Air Forces chemical warfare require- 
ments to the Air Corps and later to Headquarters, AAF. The AAF require- 
ments for chemical warfare items, particularly incendiary bombs, were high. 
Among the duties of the Air Chemical Officer was that of assisting the 
AAF in estimating their chemical warfare requirements. Shortly after the 
outbreak of war, Lt. Col. Thomas A. Doxey, Jr., CWS, was appointed to 
this post. Late in 1943 Colonel Doxey was succeeded by Col. Edward 

The factors that were considered in estimating the chemical warfare re- 
quirements of the AAF were the number of planes to be operated, the 
sortie rate, the bomb load per sortie, and the types of bombs to be used. 

24 Broph y and F isher, Organizing for War, |ch. V.| 

25 See ch j XIII fr elow for details. 



As experience data became available, statistics on actual expenditure, on 
theater levels of supply, and on transit time were utilized. 26 

In arriving at chemical warfare requirements the Office of the Air Chemi- 
cal Officer worked closely with the Requirements Division of the Assis- 
tant Chief of Afr Staff for Operations Commitments and Requirements, 
which correlated all AAF requirements. Once the requirements were com- 
puted they were included in the Army Supply Program. Administratively 
the Office of the Air Chemical Officer was under the jurisdiction of the 
Assistant Chief of Air Staff for Materiel, Maintenance and Distribution, after 
that office was established in March 1943- 2 7 It devolved upon the Air 
Chemical Officer not only to estimate chemical warfare requirements, but 
to check closely with the CWS to see that the requirements were trans- 
lated into actuality, for the CWS procured all AAF chemical warfare items. 
In accomplishing its mission the Office of the Air Chemical Officer, as a 
representative of and speaking for the Commanding General, AAF, dealt 
directly with OC CWS. On matters of policy or command the Air Chemi- 
cal Officer conducted correspondence through the Commanding General, 

Facilities Expansion in Wartime 

The chief impediments to full production in 1942 and the early part 
of 1943 were shortages of facilities, shortages of manpower, difficulty in 
obtaining suitable contractors to handle the ever expanding volume of pro- 
curement, technical problems inherent in the initial manufacture of non- 
commercial items, shortages of raw material, and imbalances in the supply 
of materials and components. There was also a need for certain refinements 
in organization and administrative procedures in the CWS and among 
higher echelons of the government. In some instances, as indicated above, 
the problems had already risen in the prewar period, and merely became 
more complicated after entrance of the United States into the war. 

Of more immediate concern than estimating requirements was provid- 
ing facilities for the manufacture of materiel. The construction program 

26 (1) Note in Diary of Air CmlO, 27 September 1943, quoting a memo for Munitions Assign- 
ment Board on sub: Review of Combined Resources and Requirements on Incendiary Bombs. CWS 
314.7 Air CmlO File. (2) Interv, Hist Off with J. S. Entriken, 19 Jun 56. Entriken was on active 
duty as requirements officer in office of Air Chemical Officer from December 1943 until the end 
of World War II. (3) "Wesley Frank Craven and James Lea Cate, eds., "The Army Air Forces in 
World War II," vol. VI, Men and Planes (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 195 5), p. 378. 

27 Craven and Cate, Men and Planes, p. 44. 



which got under way in the emergency period was greatly accelerated after 
the outbreak of war. At the time of the Pearl Harbor attack, none of the 
manufacturing plants at the new arsenals was completed and Edgewood 
was still the sole source of all types of chemical agents. 

The years 1942^43 saw the number of CWS facilities increased several 
times over. In addition to the erection of most of the plants at Hunts- 
ville and Pine Bluff, a third new CWS arsenal, Rocky Mountain, was built 
outside Denver. Here the government acquired some 20,000 acres of land, 
the southern boundary of which was adjacent to the city limits of Den- 
ver, The choice of this site was a happy one. Considered relatively im- 
mune from attack by air, it was near the main lines of the Chicago, 
Burlington, and Quincy and the Union Pacific Railroads, and to main 
highways. The climate was favorable and there was an adequate supply 
of electric power furnished by the Public Service Company of Colorado. 
Irrigation water from the Platte River was available for industrial pur- 
poses, but potable water had to be brought in by laying about ten miles 
of piping to connect with the Denver water system. 28 

In the construction of this last CWS arsenal, of which Lt. Col. 
Marshall Stubbs was named first commanding officer on 2 June 1942, the 
CWS benefited from its experience in planning and building the earlier 
arsenals. In mid-June Colonel Ungethuem, who had supervised the new 
construction at Edgewood and later at Huntsville, was transferred to Rocky 
Mountain to lend assistance. The War Department awarded prime con- 
tracts to Kershaw, Swinerton, and Walberg of San Francisco and Birming- 
ham, and H. K. Furgeson Co. of Cleveland to build the arsenal. Contracts 
as design consultants were awarded to H. K. Furgeson and Du Pont, and 
architect-engineer contracts to Whitman, Requardt, and Smith of Balti- 
more, and Kershaw, Heyer, Swinerton, and Walberg of San Francisco and 
Denver. 29 

In 1942 construction was also begun on two government-owned and 
privately operated plants and in 1943 on another five such plants. Besides 
the construction work done on arsenals and plants, the following major 
CWS facilities were erected in whole or part in 1942-43: Camp Sibert, 
Deseret Depot, Dugway Proving Ground, and Camp Detrick, In 1944, 
when War Department construction had been virtually completed, addi- 

History of the Rocky Mountain Arsenal, 1945, vol. I, pt. 1, pp. 3, 171-79. 
(1) Ibid., p. 9. (2) RMA Post Diary (2 May 42-30 Sep 43). 



tions were made to the arsenals and two more manufacturing plants were 
built 30 

From 1 July 1940 to 31 December 1945 a total of $315,658,264 was 
spent on construction of CWS facilities. 31 

"The most critical problem of the whole war program was that of fa- 
cilities expansion," said an Industrial College research study of 1947. 32 To 
win the war the munitions capacity of the country had to be increased 
tremendously and many of the same materials needed for munitions were 
also needed for facilities. The Executive Order establishing the War Pro- 
duction Board (WPB) placed the solution of the construction problem 
in the hands of that agency. 33 On 9 April 1942 WPB Order L-Al limited 
construction to facilities contributing to the war effort. 34 With the initia- 
tion of the Controlled Materials Plan (CMP) in November 1942 the fol- 
lowing critical items were strictly rationed by the WPB: carbon and alloy 
steels, high octane gasoline, copper, aluminum, and nickel. 35 That this ra- 
tioning had an adverse effect on the CWS construction and production 
program is evidenced by a complaint registered by the Chief, CWS, with 
the Commanding General, ASF, on 31 December 1942. 36 

While the complaint of the Chief, CWS, is understandable, for the 
War Department was obviously not giving priority to chemical warfare 
items, there was sound reasoning behind the War Department's action. 
Seven months after the date of the CWS complaint, the Director of Pro- 
duction Division, ASF, Brig. Gen. H. C. Minton, observed that it was 
War Department policy to operate many CWS projects at low rates and 
to maintain a large number of CWS facilities in standby. This policy, 
Minton said, was based on the character of chemical warfare to date. "Oper- 
ations now and in the past," he stated, "have been only for the purpose of 

30 In 1942 construction was undertaken on the Kanawha Plant, South Charleston, W. Va., 
and the Maury Plant, Columbia, Tenn. In 1943 work was begun on the following plants: Seattle, 
at Seattle, Wash.; Marshall at New Martinsville, W. Va.; Owl at Azusa, Calif.; Firelands at Ma- 
rion, Ohio; and Birmingham at Birmingham, Ala. The plants which were started in 1944 were 
the Duck River Plant, Columbia, Tenn.; and the San Bernardino Plant, San Bernardino, Calif. See 

I Appendix A I for details on all CWS facilities built in World War II. 

31 See lapp. HI 

32 ICAF R83, Construction of New Facilities, p. 63. 

33 E O 9024, 16 Jan 42. 

34 For discussion of effects of this order on construction in the Army, see Jesse A. Remington 
and Lenore Fine, Construction in the United States, a Corps of Engineers volume in preparation 

35 For discussion of CMP in CWS see below, [pp. 28 1-82. | 

38 Ltx, C CWS to CG ASF, 31 Dec 42, sub: Delayed Shipments of Equipment for CWS Pro- 
gram. CWS 400.226. 



building up our base supply of materials for chemical warfare and the plant 
capacity must be maintained in token operation with trained crews ready 
to start full production at a moment's notice, should the enemy elect the 
use of chemicals. These plants are insurance against changes in warfare 
tactics." 37 

To administer expanding construction functions, the Chief, CWS, in 
May 1942 directed that a Construction Division be activated in the Indus- 
trial Service of his headquarters. This division, whose chief was Col. Lester 
W. Hurd, was charged with collecting data on construction and main- 
taining liaison with the Office of the Under Secretary of War, the General 
Staff, Headquarters, ASF, and the Corps of Engineers. As of 1 May 1942 
the organization chart of the division listed its strength as ten officers and 
fifty-two civilians. In August 1942 the division was renamed a branch of 
the Industrial Division and because the Corps of Engineers maintained 
that construction of facilities was its function the name was changed to 
Facilities and Engineering Branch and later to Facilities and Requirements 
Branch. 38 

Materiel Shortages and Imbalances 

The shortage of raw materials which arose in the emergency period 
became even more acute once war was declared. Until the end of 1942 
the chief need for such materials was for construction facilities. From then 
until the close of hostilities the principal demand for raw materials was 
for production of munitions, which started to mount sharply once war 
was declared. Typical shortages in the CWS were steel for decontaminat- 
ing apparatus, nickel-chrome steel for elevating screws for 4.2-inch mor- 
tars, Monel metal and stainless steel for valves for one-ton containers, and 
raw chemicals for protective ointment and smoke mixtures. 39 

The problem of shortages was complicated by the lack of an efficient 
system of overall administration for the country. The government first es- 
tablished the priorities system to control the flow of materials during the 
emergency period. Under this system ratings were assigned to end items. 

37 Memo, Dir Prod Div for the Dir of Materiel, 2 Aug 43 , sub: Report on the War Depart- 
ment's Investment in Industrial Facilities. ASF 004 Facilities. 

M (l) OC CWS Off O 40, 29 Jul 42. (2) Interv, Hist Off with Brig Gen Clifford L. Sayre, 
18 Oct 56. Sayre, then a lieutenant colonel, was assigned to the Construction Division during World 
War II. (3) OC CWS Organization Charts, 6 Nov 42 and 10 Aug 43. 

39 See Reports of Accomplishments and Pending Difficulties in Connection with Procurement 
and Production Activities of CWS, prepared by Chief, Industrial Service, OC CWS for USW, 25 
Feb, 5 Mar, and 9 Apr 42. CWS 400.12/106-139- 



By the fall of 1941 this arrangement was supplemented by one of alloca- 
tions which aimed at control of materials in the component stage. 40 Un- 
der the priorities system, the Office of Production Management examined 
the applications of prospective claimants, and notified producers to ship 
allotted quantities of critical items to those contractors whose applications 
were approved. 

To supervise its priority and allocation activities, the CWS set up a 
separate section in the Procurement Planning Division, OC CWS, early 
in 1941, 41 This section had responsibility for estimating the amounts of 
critical materials needed and recommending priorities to be assigned to 
end items. The Chief, CWS, submitted these recommendations to the 
Army and Navy Munitions Board for assignment of certification of priorities. 
They were then passed on to the Office of Production Management for 
final approval. 

With the great increase in the volume of contracts after the outbreak 
of war came a corresponding rise in priority and allocation activities. In 
the OC CWS the priorities unit was raised to the status of a branch— the 
Priorities and Allocation Branch— which remained one of the largest ad- 
ministrative units in the OC CWS during 1942 and early 1943. 42 For each 
contract entered into by the CWS, this branch drew up a schedule of every 
pound of critical material needed. 

Notwithstanding that much time and effort were put into the compila- 
tion of these schedules the information did not always reflect the true 
situation. The reason was that the manufacturers made the same item in 
different ways (even though they used identical specifications). Conse - 
quently, some manufacturers consumed a much greater quantity of critical 
material than others. In view of the serious problem of scarcities, it was 
essential that the situation be corrected. 

The solution adopted by the chiefs office was to have bills of mate- 
rial drawn up which listed component parts of every item as well as the 

40 For details on material controls in World War II see: (1) Donald M. Nelson, Arsenal of 
Democracy (New York: Harcourt Brace, 1946); (2) Civilian Production Administration, Industrial 
Mobilization for War; History of the War Production Board and Predecessor Agencies, 1940-1943 
(Washington, 1947), vol. I, pp. 457-74; (3) Smith, The Army and Economic Mobilization, pt. VI, 
chs. XXII-XXVI; and (4) Millett, Organization and Role of the Army Service Forces, ch. XIV. 

41 This section was headed by a CWS Reserve officer called to active duty in January 1940, 
Capt. Alexander Leggin. Unless otherwise indicated this discussion of priorities and allocations is 
based on Interv, Hist Off with Leggin, 23 June 55. 

42 OC CWS Organization Chart, 6 Nov 42, lists 27 officers and 68 civilians in this branch. 
According to Leggin in his interview of 23 June 5 5, the numbers listed were very close to those 
actually employed. 



exact time and quantity of critical material going into each item. General 
Porter decided to use recent graduates of the CWS Officer Candidate School 
on this project and other officers were borrowed from the procurement dis- 
tricts. In the summer of 1942 about 300 of these young officers were housed 
in a hotel owned by the Bata Shoe Co. near Edgewood, Md., where for 
six weeks, seven days a week, they worked hour after hour drawing up 
bills of material. As of 1 November a temporary freeze was imposed on 
drawings and specifications because the bills were subject to continual 
changes from waivers and changes in specifications. The freeze was lifted 
upon completion of an initial bill of material. 43 

The compilation of up-to-date bills of material was one of the most 
significant procurement developments of the war, for these bills enabled 
the service to determine the precise quantity of raw materials needed and 
where and how it was being used. The CWS could refer to them to iron 
out discrepancies between its figures and those submitted by contractors. 
The bills also aided in forecasting production more accurately since gross 
critical materials requirements could be exactly computed for scheduled 
delivery; they furnished data later required by the War Production Board 
and the Army Service Forces under the Controlled Materials Plan. 

Defects inherent in the overall system of government priorities led to 
the inauguration of the CMP in late 1942. 4 4 The CMP provided for an 
allocation of critical materials to each service according to the national 
supply and according to the relative needs of that service. Under the 
CMP, priorities were no longer assigned to end items but to the critical 
materials. Since steel, copper, and aluminum were the most critical, these 
materials were the first to be included in the CMP. Later, other items 
such as rubber were added. 

The Controlled Materials Plan was a far more orderly and equitable 
system than any that had preceded it. In the CWS the system worked 
extremely well, partly because the list of chemical warfare ; items was 
smaller than that of the other technical services, and partly because the 
CWS had already compiled accurate bills of materials. The CMP enabled 

43 (1) Interv, Hist Off with Col Lester W. Hurd, 18 Mar 57. (2) Conference, Commanding 
Officers, Chemical Warfare Districts, Industrial Division, OC CWS, 3-4 Mar 43, pp. 19-23. CWS 
314.7 Procurement File. 

44 For details see (1) Smith, The Army and Economic Mobilization, ch. XXV and (2) Civilian 
Production Administration, Industrial Mobilization for War, vol. I, pt. IV, ch. VI. H. Duncan 
Hall, in "History of the Second World War," North American Supply, p. 386, note 1 (Longmans 
Green & Co., 1955), states that the U.S. Controlled Materials Plan was patterned after the British 



the service to delegate priority and allocation responsibilities to its installa- 
tions, with staff responsibility being retained in the chiefs office. Un- 
fortunately the system was inaugurated after the construction program had 
passed its peak and after the procurement of certain items was well ad- 
vanced. But this was perhaps inevitable. The CMP was a system that 
grew out of the trials and errors of several years of procurement experi- 
ences and it is difficult to see how it could have been drawn up before- 

The Search for Suitable Contractors 

The procurement of items through private contract, initiated in the 
CWS with the awarding of the first educational order contract in 1939, 
continued in 1940 and 1941 financed by appropriations in support of the 
Munitions Program of 1940. All educational order contracts and many of 
the other contracts were written in the Office of the Chief, CWS. Rela- 
tively few contracts of any kind were written in the district offices before 
December 1941 because the chiefs office, as already indicated, had to ap- 
prove all contracts exceeding $10,000. Actual entrance into war led to the 
immediate need for eliminating such a highly centralized procedure. Nine 
days after war was declared Under Secretary Patterson urged the chiefs of 
the technical services to expedite and decentralize war procurement. He 
directed them to award contracts without advertising and specified that 
only contracts in excess of five million dollars need be submitted to his 
office for approval. 45 On the very next day, 18 December, the First War 
Powers Act, vesting broad procurement powers in the Secretary of War, 
became law. One feature of this act was the decentralization of procure- 
ment activities to field offices; 46 another was the authorization of con- 
tracts through negotiation. 

In pursuance of the First War Powers Act and of Executive Order 
9001, 27 December 1941, which President Roosevelt issued to implement 

4S ( 1 ) Awarding of contracts without advertising, that is, by negotiation, was provided for in 
P.L. 703, 76th Congress and in Section 9 of the Military Appropriations Act of 1942. However, 
until 17 December 1941 the Under Secretary of War urged caution in the use of negotiated con- 
tracts. See Troyer S. Anderson, History of the Office of the USW (1914-1941), unpublished 
monograph, OCMH, ch. VI, p. 13- In the CWS there was a limited number of negotiated con- 
tracts prior to the declaration of war. Not till after the enactment of the First War Powers Act 
did negotiation become common. (2) Memo, USW for C CWS, et al., 17 Dec 41, sub; Decen- 
tralization of Procurement. (3) Telg, USW to C CWS, et aL f 17 Dec 41. Both in USW 400.13 

4(3 The Secretary of War asked the Attorney General for an opinion on the constitutionality 
of his power to delegate authority to contract to field offices. The Attorney General ruled that he 
had such power. See Ltr, Art Gen to SW, 29 Aug 42. CWS 381. 



the act, and in conformity with directives from the Under Secretary of 
War, the Chief, CWS, decentralized procurement activities to the field 
installations under his command in January and March 1942. 47 From then 
until the close of the hostilities CWS procured the bulk of its materiel 
through private contracts. The CWS arsenals and plants generally confined 
their activities to manufacturing chemical agents and to chemical war- 
fare munitions which were difficult to obtain through private contract. 

The hardships which the Chemical Warfare Service began to experi- 
ence in obtaining suitable contractors in the emergency period became 
much more pronounced after the declaration of war. Since the Industrial 
Mobilization Plan of 1939 had not been put into operation, the CWS, as 
indicated, in some instances had lost allocated contractors to other ele- 
ments of the armed forces, particularly the Ordnance Department and the 
Navy. This state of affairs continued into the war period. Only for the 
gas mask and raw chemicals did the CWS experience little difficulty in 
obtaining contractors with the necessary experience and equipment. Thanks 
to the educational order contracts on the mask, excellent contractors with 
well-equipped plants were already in production and were willing and able to 
proceed with other gas mask contracts. In the case of raw chemicals, a sizable 
number of well-established houses were available for government work. On 
all other items, CWS usually placed contracts with establishments that had 
not been allocated to it under the Industrial Mobilization Plan. In almost 
all instances these establishments were small operators who had to con- 
vert their plants in order to manufacture the items. 

While the CWS was not in the most favorable position with regard 
to prospective contractors, the difficulties can be exaggerated. It is true 
that many of the contractors were small businessmen, but most CWS 
contracts were for components which small contractors were well able to 
handle. It is also true that the contractors had to convert their plants, but 
this would have been the case even with larger contractors since 95 per- 
cent of all CWS items were noncommercial. 48 Actually there was seldom 
any dearth of bidders for CWS contracts and generally when the con- 
tractors had gained experience they did an excellent job. A more serious 
problem than securing contractors and converting plants was the lack of 

47 (1) Ltr, C Ind Div OC CWS to COs PDs and Arsenals, 3 Jan 42, sub: Authority to Con- 
tract. CWS 400.12/105. (2) Ltr, C CWS to COs PDs and Arsenals, 23 Mar 42, sub: Approval 
of Awards and Formal Contracts. CWS 160/3011. 

48 CWS Presentation, SOS Staff Conference, Procurement and Producdon Problems, January 
14, 1943, p. 2. CWS 337, 1943. 



proper specifications for the contractors. As already indicated, the CWS 
drew up specifications during the peacetime period, but in some instances 
these were of little value when the items had to be produced under as- 
sembly line procedures. Moreover, time did not permit the development 
of complete specifications on the important items for which the CWS was 
given definite procurement responsibility in the emergency period— the 
4.2-inch mortar and shell, the incendiary bomb, and the flame thrower. 
These and other items the CWS, and in some cases the contractors, con- 
tinued to develop after the service had awarded production contracts on 
the items. Since much of the materiel produced under the early contracts 
soon became obsolete, much time and money were lost. It would have 
been to the advantage of the government, from the standpoint of both 
economy and preparedness, if in the 1930's the CWS had been allowed 
to expend on the development and engineering of munitions a fraction 
of the funds that were allocated after Pearl Harbor. 

The Chemical Warfare Service had already been placing contracts with 
small business firms over a period of months when the Small Business 
Act was passed in June 1942. 49 To administer that act the ASF set up a 
Small War Plants Branch in its purchases division, and shortly there- 
after the technical services appointed liaison officers in their headquarters 
and field installations. These officers were in constant touch with the rep- 
resentatives of the Smaller War Plants Corp. (SWPC) which was set up 
under the act. 50 

The CWS soon acquired something of a reputation in the War De- 
partment for awarding contracts to smaller war plants and for assisting the 
small fellow generally. 51 When General Somervell's office conducted sur- 
veys in New York and Cincinnati in 1942, for instance, it found that the 
CWS through its New York district office would call in manufacturers to 
help delinquent contractors straighten out their difficulties. 52 In the fall of 
1942 a witness before the Small Business Committee of the United States 

46 PX. 603, 77th Cong, 11 Jun 42. 

50 Appraisals of the SWPC are contained in the following lectures given at the Army Indus- 
trial College: W. D. Denit, War Production in Small Plants, 13 Dec 46, ICAF L47-54; B. T. Bon- 
not, Problems of Small War Plants in Industrial Mobilization, 28 Mar 46, ICAF L46-61; and 
R. C. Enos, U tilization of Smaller Plants, 23 Mar 49, ICAF L49-108. All in ICAF Library. 

51 (1) See lChart 7.1 ASF Annual Report 1943, p. 31. (2) Remarks of Brig Gen P. X. English, 
Conference of Commanding Officers, CW Procurement Districts, 3-4 Mar 43, p. 114. CWS 314.7 
Procurement File. (3) Ltr, CO NYCWPD to C CWS, 16 Oct 42, sub: Local Newspaper Reports 
on Small War Plants. CWS 000.7. 

52 See Harry B. Yoshpe, Organization for Production Control in World War II, 1939-45, 
passim. An unpublished monograph in OCMH. 



Senate stated that the only government agency in New York in which 
there was any "real co-operation" and "any degree of efficiency" so far as 
procurement work was concerned was the CWS. "The manufacturer," the 
witness stated, "may go to the Office of Chemical Warfare, bring his 
brochure, his financial statement, a line of his material and equipment, 
and within a short time an engineer will go out from Chemical Warfare 
to inspect the plant, to determine whether or not it is available for pres- 
ent war work or can be converted into war work." 53 

The award of numerous contracts to smaller businesses was not with- 
out its drawbacks. Most small contractors lacked facilities for volume pro- 
duction of standard or specialized parts and had to let subcontracts to 
smaller firms for such parts. Again, while the small prime contractors 
were often purchasers of standard commercial raw materials, the volume 
of their business did not warrant maintaining skilled purchasing depart- 
ments capable of contracting for made-to-order components on the scale 
called for under war contracts. Moreover, government inspection methods 
were almost completely foreign to the commercial experience of the 
smaller companies. All these factors complicated the job of the CWS 
procurement officer, who had to provide administrative, technical, and 
engineering assistance to a number of contractors who could not afford to 
hire men trained in these various fields. The CWS procurement officers, 
both in the chiefs office and the installations, were generally Reserve 
officers with engineering education and some experience in industry. With- 
out the assistance of these men the service could not have carried out its 
procurement mission. 

Particularly burdensome, from the point of view of administration, was 
the practice of awarding numerous contracts for components to small war 
plants. This practice entailed a tremendous amount of administrative work 
both in the chiefs office and in the procurement districts. Although the 
system worked fairly well during the first year of the war, by the spring 
of 1943 a definite change was indicated, for by theri* General Somervell's 
office was emphasizing controls of all sorts, including control of man- 
power and control of production. The matter came up for serious discus- 
sion in the conference of CWS procurement officers in March 1943. 54 By 

Hearings before the Special Committee to Study and Survey Problems of Small Business 
Enterprises, U.S. Senate, 77th Cong, 2d Sess, Pursuant to S.R. 298 (76th Cong); Part 10, Small 
Concerns in War Production: I-Oct 13, 14, and 15, 1942. 

54 Conference of Commanding Officers, CW Procurement Districts, 3-4 Mar 43, passim. CWS 
314.7 Procurement File. 



the fall of 1943 the CWS had worked out a new system of procurement 
which emphasized end-item buying rather than component buying. Con- 
tracting officers were urged to make end-item contractors responsible for 
the procurement of their own components. The end-item contracting sys- 
tem was not immediately successful in all cases since some contractors 
were reluctant to undertake responsibility for subcontracts or were unable 
to find subcontractors. 55 But despite its defects, end-item buying was one 
of the most important administrative developments in the CWS during 
World War II. 

Inspection of Materiel 

After the outbreak of hostilities the number of inspectors rapidly in- 
creased. They were needed not only in the existing installations but also 
in those newly activated — Pine Bluff, Huntsville, and Rocky Mountain 
Arsenals, and Atlanta and Dallas Procurement Districts. By the close of 
1942 the CWS reached its peak wartime figure of 6,398 inspectors. From 
then until the end of the war the number dropped sharply— less than 3,000 
in December 1943 and less than 2,500 in May 1945. 56 

The training and experience requirements of CWS inspectors varied 
with the type of positions the^y had to fill. Those in key posts had to 
have technical training and were expected to have a college degree or its 
equivalent, particularly if they were engaged in inspecting chemicals. Line 
inspectors were required to have a high school education, be intelligent, 
and be willing to learn. As the war went on, women were hired in great 
numbers as line inspectors. In general their performance was equal to that 
of the men and many women were advanced to supervisory positions, even 
to that of chief inspector. However, it was difficult to find women with 
the necessary formal education and practical experience required for key 
positions, and these were generally filled by men. 

The chief reason for the great number of inspectors in 1942 was the 
prevailing practice of inspecting end items and components on a 100 per- 
cent basis. Despite this practice inferior chemical warfare munitions were 
being sent to installations in the zone of interior and to the theaters. 57 

55 Intervs, Hist Off with Cols Almon N. Bowes and A. J. L. Wilson, 27 Nov 56. Colonels 
Bowes and Wilson were officers in the New York Procurement District in World War II. 

56 (1) Analysis of Operations of the Inspection Division, 1942-1945, compiled by Col John 
H. Sharp, C Insp Div, OC CWS. (2) Ltr, C Insp Div OC CWS to Chiefs, Inspection Offices, all 
districts and arsenals, 3 May 45, sub: Policy of Inspection Division on Manpower Utilization and 
Other Studies. Both in CWS 314.7 Inspection File. 

5T ( 1) Ltr, CG CWS Repl Tng Center, Camp Sibert to C CWS, 7 May 43, sub: Report of 
Inspection Trip. CWS 319.1. (2) Ltr, Maj D. Althauser to C Tech Div, OC CWS, 13 May 43, 
sub: Report on Tour of Temporary Duty in ETOUSA and NATOUSA. CWS 381. 



The Chief, CWS, felt that before any real improvement in inspection pro- 
cedures could be effected, some changes would have to be made in the 
organization of his office and the installations. Until May 1943 the Inspec- 
tion Branch of the chiefs office was an element of the Industrial Division. 
The inspection units at the installations reported to the division's com- 
manding officers, whose chief objective in accordance with War Depart- 
ment policy in 1942 and early 1943 was to procure more and more of 
everything with the greatest possible speed. To solve the problem of in- 
ferior inspection the Chief, CWS, in the reorganization of his office on 
27 May 1943, made the inspection unit independent of the procurement 
unit by putting the Inspection Division on the same echelon as the In- 
dustrial Division. 58 At the same time he directed that the inspection units 
at the installations be put under the direct jurisdiction of the Inspection 
Division, OC CWS. While commanding officers of some installations later 
questioned the wisdom of this action, none ever expressed doubt that 
from May 1943 until the end of the war a great improvement took place 
in the quality of CWS items. 59 

The CWS's first step to improve inspection procedures after the 27 
May 1943 reorganization was the elimination of inspection of components. 
On 4 August 1943 the Assistant Chief, CWS, for Materiel, announced 
that henceforth all contracts would contain a clause to the effect that the 
contractor would be responsible for such inspection. 60 After this policy 
was announced a number of former CWS inspectors were hired by the 
contractors to carry out the same work they had done for the government. 

A second step toward improved administration of inspection was the 
inauguration of the practice of accepting chemical components on the 
basis of notarized certificates of analysis submitted by the contractor. 
Under this procedure the duties of the CWS inspector were confined to 
making spot checks of the material. 61 

A third move in the direction of improved inspection was the intro- 
duction of a system of statistical quality control. As early as the fall of 
1942 the CWS became interested in this type of inspection as carried out 
by such industrial concerns as the General Electric Co. and the American 

5S (1) OC CWS OffO 39, 27 May 43. (2) Chiefs of Inspection Division in World War II 
were Maj. John L. Miles, Maj. Elwood H. Snider, Lt. Col. Ludlow King, Col. William M. Creasy, 
and Col. John Sharp. 

59 Brophy and Fisher, YJrg#MZWg JUL War, chTTH 

60 Ltr, AC CWS for Matl to Chief Inspection Officers, all Districts and Arsenals, 4 Aug 43, 
sub: Personnel Reductions. CWS 314.7 Inspection File. 

61 This procedure is discussed in ASF Manual CWS-M608, 1 Sep 44, par. 712. 



Telephone and Telegraph Co. The system was mathematical in nature, 
embodying the sample inspection of a fixed number of items from each 
lot produced. The number of items selected from a lot was based on 
records of past performance. Little headway was made in the CWS with 
statistical quality control until Headquarters, ASF, directed the service to 
draw up and adopt tables based on the "laws of probability reconciled 
with results of actual experience." 62 From the fall of 1943 until the close 
of the war the CWS inaugurated the system on a gradual basis. Although 
the project involved considerable planning and retraining of personnel, the 
results obtained more than justified the time and effort expended. By 
properly applying the principles of quality control, Inspection Division, 
OC CWS, was able to greatly improve inspection and at the same time re- 
duce the number of inspectors. To take but a single example, after the 
Quality Control System was established the number of inspectors on the 
M50 bomb program was reduced from 66 to 35. 03 

Another significant administrative innovation was the centralization of 
the control of waivers. A waiver, as the term implied, dispensed with a 
particular requirement of a drawing or specification. It permitted a varia- 
tion in the standard of quality, but not to the extent of causing a de- 
terioration in the product. Waivers were intended to apply only to a 
minimum quantity over a particular period of time. Their issuance was a 
perfectly legitimate procedure so long as the practice was not abused. But 
unfortunately the practice was abused, and it became necessary for the 
Inspection Division, OC CWS, to revise procedures on issuance of waivers. 
In June 1943 the Assistant Chief, CWS, for Materiel, issued a directive 
that districts and arsenals could grant waivers only with the concurrence 
of the Chief, Inspection Division, OC CWS. The Inspection Division was 
to use its discretion in obtaining the concurrence of the Technical Divi- 
sion. In all instances the Chief, Inspection Division, was to notify the 
Industrial Liaison Branch, which would in turn notify the installation. 64 

Other important measures taken to improve inspection were the use 
of standardized gauges throughout the CWS, standardization of procedures 
for operating CWS inspection laboratories, an adequate system of surveil- 
lance, and the compilation of an inventory of items in CWS depots. 

62 See ASF Manual CWS-M608, 1 Sep 44, par. 1022. 

63 History of New York CWPD 1940 through June 1944, pp. 268-69- 

64 ( 1) Ltr, AC CWS to C Ind Div, et a/., 29 Jun 43, sub: Directives Governing Definitions 
and Procedures on Waivers, Alternates and Changes. CWS 400.1141 1943. (2) ASF Manual CWS- 
M608, 1 Sep 44, par. 1040. The Industrial Liaison Branch was responsible for clearance of drawings 
and specifications as well as waivers. See OC CWS Adm O 14, 7 Aug 43. 



In 1943 the Specification and Inspection Branch, ASF, contracted with 
the Trundle Engineering Co. of Cleveland to survey inspection practices in 
the technical services. The report of this survey, which was turned over to 
the Director of Production, ASF, on 2 July 1943, indicated that the CWS 
was outstanding among the technical services with regard to inspection 
organization and procedures. 65 One of the most significant results of the 
Trundle survey was the formulation by the War Department of general 
inspection policies, which were eventually published in ASF Inspection 
Manual M608, in March 1944. This manual was to be implemented by 
inspection manuals in the technical services, with CWS Inspection Manual 
M608 not published until 1 September 1944. 

Inspection manuals were exteremly useful in keeping the inspectors 
informed on government policies and procedures, but they were not in- 
tended to serve as guides for individual inspectors working on specific 
items. For that purpose the Inspection Division, OC CWS, prepared in- 
dividual standard inspection procedures. A standard inspection procedure 
described the item, specified the parts to be inspected and the tools or 
instruments needed to accomplish the inspection, and finally, indicated 
where pertinent how the item would be proof tested, inspected for sur- 
veillance, and packaged. 

Inspection in the CWS improved so markedly after the independent 
Inspection Division was set up in the chiefs office in May 1943, that the 
action stands out as one of the wisest organizational moves of the war- 
time period in the CWS. Not only did the quality of inspection improve; 
the attitude of the inspectors took a marked turn for the better. For, once 
they were removed from the control of those who at OC CWS level were 
responsible for meeting production schedules, the inspectors carried out 
their duties in a more effective manner. 

The Pricing Program 

The Second War Powers Act, supplemented by Presidential order, 
authorized certain government agencies, including the War Department, to 
inspect and audit the books of war contractors and subcontractors. 66 The 
War Department established administrative units for securing voluntary 
adjustments or refunds whenever prices, costs, or profits were considered 

63 Report of Inspection Survey for Inspection Section, Facilities and Inspection Branch, Produc- 
tion Division, Headquarters, ASF, by the Trundle Engineering Co. CWS 314.7 Inspection File. 
66 (1) 16 Stat 176, 21 Mar 42. (2) E0 9127, 10 April 1942. 



excessive. In the CWS, for example, a Price Adjustment Section was acti- 
vated in the Legal Branch on 8 August 1942. 67 Later a Cost Analysis 
Branch was set up in the Fiscal Division to collect data on costs and 
profits on War Department contracts. 68 Close liaison was maintained be- 
tween the fiscal and legal officers on all matters pertaining to costs. 69 

The enactment of renegotiation legislation in 1942 and 1943 led to 
greater emphasis on pricing analysis in the War Department. 70 In one of 
the Procurement Regulations which the War Department began to issue 
in the spring of 1943 provision was made for a revision of pricing organ- 
ization and procedures. 71 In conformity with this regulation, Headquarters, 
ASF, established a Purchases Division and the technical services activated 
similar units at their headquarters. 72 In the CWS the unit was known as 
the Purchase Policies Branch. 73 Throughout the war it was headed by 
Lt. CoL Robert M. Estes. In September 1943 the branch was transferred 
from the Washington headquarters to the Baltimore suboffice of the Chief, 
CWS, where it remained for the duration of the war. 

The chief of the new Purchase Policies Branch faced the problem of 
attempting to carry out the provisions of an act that was not popular 
either with the contractors or with CWS contracting officers. Each group 
felt that price analysis tended to interfere with production, their principal 
mission. If the law was to be carried out in letter and in spirit, this 
prejudice against pricing activities had to be overcome. 

67 OC CWS OffO 44, 8 Aug 42. 
fl8 OC CWS Organ Chart, 22 Feb 43. 

69 Interv, Hist Off with Lt Col Joseph F. Escude, 2 5 Jun 46. Colonel Escude served with the Fiscal 
Division throughout World War II. 

70 Renegotiation was provided for in Section 403 of the Sixth Supplemental National Defense Act 
as amended in October 1942 and again in Title VIII Section 801 of the Revenue Act of 1943. The 
1943 act modified the 1942 act in the following particulars: (1) The 1942 act vested administrative 
authority in the Secretaries of the Departments, whereas the 1943 act set up an interdepartmental 
War Contracts Price Adjustment Board. (2) The 1942 act did not provide for court action; the 1943 
act made provision for determination by the Tax Court of the United States. (3) The 1942 act 
covered renegotiation and repricing in the same statutory provision, while the 1943 act treated the 
two separately and vested the repricing power in the Secretaries of Departments. (4) The 1942 act 
provided for exemptions measured by sales volume under war contracts up to $100,000; the 1943 
act set the figure at $500,000. (5) The 1942 act set the date of discontinuance of renegotiation as 
three years after the war; the 1943 act set the date as 3 1 December 1945. (6) The 1943 act was more 
specific as to exemptions from renegotiation procedures and methods of determining excess profits. 

71 WD Procurement Regulation 2, 26 Mar 43, sec V. 

12 See Smith, The Army and Economic Mobilization, pp. 273-79, for a discussion of wartime pric- 
ing policy. The chief objective behind the WD pricing program was to compel contractors to produce 
efficiently if they wished to make a profit. To produce efficiently they would have to make effective 
use of manpower, materials, and equipment. 

73 OC CWS Off O 31, 1 May 43- 



Lt. Col; Robert M. Estes 

The first step which the Purchase 
Policies Branch took was to secure 
the co-operation and obtain the sup- 
port of the procurement district staff 
A survey of the districts conducted 
by the branch in the fall of 1943 
revealed an almost total lack of in- 
terest and initiative with regard to 
pricing functions. 74 To rectify this 
situation General Ditto, Assistant 
Chief, CWS, for Materiel, wrote a 
letter in December 1943 to the com- 
manding officers of the districts in 
which he emphasized that price 
analysis was primarily a district 
function. 75 From then until the 
close of the war the procurement 
districts were more active in conducting pricing operations. The Purchase 
Policies Branch, OC CWS, continued to act in a staff capacity on all 
pricing matters. 

The co-operation of the district officials was secured not alone by di- 
rective from the chiefs office, but also through demonstration of the 
practical utility of pricing studies. One of the principal means of con- 
vincing contracting officers of the value of such studies was the dissemi- 
nation of comparative price and cost data throughout all CWS procure- 
ment installations. From January 1944 on, the Purchase Policies Branch dis- 
tributed copies of the price reports covering the most important (from the 
standpoint of cost) chemical warfare items of procurement on a weekly 
basis. Each installation was thus advised of every change in the unit price 
or cost of important CW items. Price analysts in the districts compiled 
the data on index cards for ready reference. Another method whereby in- 
creased interest in pricing was fostered was through conferences of all 
CWS purchase policy personnel. 

Opposition on the part of contractors was considerably mollified by 
the threat of prolonged renegotiation of their contracts. For while a great 

74 Analysis of CWS Pricing Record in World War II, p. 18. This 100-page mimeographed report 
was compiled by Purchase Policies Branch OC CWS in 1945. MS in Hist Off. 

75 Ltr, AC CWS for Mat! to CO CCWPD, et al, 3 Dec 43, sub: Relationship of Price Analysis to 
Procurement. CWS 400.12. 



many contractors disliked the inconvenience caused by price and cost 
analysis, they thoroughly detested renegotiation, which they conceived of 
as both un-American and unconstitutional. 76 During 1943 a number of 
businessmen testified in Congressional hearings before four separate com- 
mittees that in their opinion government contracting officers should have 
sufficient information to draw up contracts which guaranteed that no ex- 
cess profits would be made and thus do away with the need for renegotia- 
tion. After this testimony, the President ruled that by June 1944 the need 
for renegotiation of contracts should have been eliminated. The War De- 
partment thereupon put considerable pressure on the technical services to 
improve their knowledge and handling of all aspects of purchase policies. 
The June 1944 deadline was not met and renegotiation activities were still 
being carried on when the war ended. This deadline, however, plus the 
continued uncertainty over whether Congress would continue renegotiation 
legislation, acted as incentives to sound pricing policies in the CWS. 77 

In the spring of 1944 the Purchase Policies Branch brought about a 
significant improvement in price analysis techniques by adding to its staff 
a qualified industrial engineer and an accountant experienced in production 
cost procedures. The branch required the services of the engineer to evalu- 
ate different drawings and specifications and to act in an advisory capacity 
to the accountant and other pricing personnel. 78 In July 1945 the Chief, 
Industrial Division, OC CWS, recommended that the services of indus- 
trial engineers be utilized also in pricing operations in the districts, but 
the war came to an end before this suggestion was acted on. 79 

The fact that very few chemical warfare items were manufactured in 
peacetime made it generally impossible to establish equitable prices at the 
start of the war. In the emergency and early wartime period, the CWS 
wrote contracts for most items without too much regard to price. Assistant 
Secretary Patterson himself urged the chiefs of the technical services not 
to be too concerned about prices, but rather to see that the supplies for 
the troops were delivered on time. Excess profits, he said, could be recap- 
tured through legislation. 80 

76 (1) Analysis of CWS Pricing Record, p. 11. (2) Smith, The Army and Economic Mobilization, 
p. 354. 

77 Remarks of Lt Col R. M. Estes, Report of CWS Procurement Conference held at Pittsburgh, 
Pa., 8 Jan 45. CWS 314.7 Procurement File. 

78 Analysis of CWS Pricing Record, p. 21. 

79 Ltr, C Ind Div OC CWS to CO NYCWPD, 5 Jul 45, sub: Industrial Engineer to Assist in 
Price Analysis. CWS 213 NYCWPD (1945). 

80 Interv, Hist Off with Maj Gen W. N. Porter (Ret), 14 Sep 51. 



The only major item on which the CWS had cost and price data was 
the gas mask because that was the one item which continued to be 
manufactured in considerable quantity after World War I. Experience 
gained under the educational order contracts was especially productive of 
valuable data on the cost of the mask. The Purchase Policies Branch had 
little trouble, therefore, compiling charts depicting the discrepancies in 
prices charged by the various contracts. By simply calling the attention of 
the contractors to these charts it was sometimes possible to secure a re- 
duction in prices. The price level of the gas mask declined over 9 percent 
between January 1942 and June 1945. 81 

Contractors on other CW items, lacking as they were in experience, 
often quoted prices which were later considered exorbitant. It was almost 
inevitable that the initial cost of production would be high, because the 
manufacturer first had to learn how to produce the item. After he mas- 
tered that, he learned how to make it more economically. In most in- 
stances the manufacturers gave the government the benefit of their ability 
to produce at lower cost by voluntarily reducing their prices. Those who 
co-operated with the government received preferential treatment under the 
Renegotiation Act. 82 Those who did not were thoroughly checked not 
only by the War Department but by the General Accounting Office. As 
of February 1945 the CWS was investigating some twenty companies 
whose profits exceeded 15 percent or whose profits in renegotiation had 
been cut by 25 percent. 83 

Pricing operations, as noted, were always simplified when a number of 
contractors worked on the same item. As in the case of the mask, it was 
possible to make comparisons between the prices charged by the various 
manufacturers and on that basis to attempt price adjustments. Practically 
all items manufactured by the CWS followed the competitive pattern. 
Although originally a single manufacturer might have been awarded a 
contract, eventually several competing firms were also given contracts and 
the prices of all were subject to study. In the case of the portable flame 

81 Analysis of CWS Pricing Record, p. 39- 

82 Testimony of George H. Knutson, member of the War Department Price Adjustment Board, 
in Hearings before Special Committee Investigating National Defense Program, Part 34, pp. 17988- 
18008 (Washington, 1946). The War Department Price Adjustment Board became a staff division 
of ASF in the fall of 1943. 

83 Remarks of Lt Col R. M. Estes, Report of CWS Procurement Conference held at Dallas, Texas, 
14-1 5 Feb 45. CWS 337 Dallas PD 1945- The CWS was carrying on its investigation under an ASF 
program known as "Company Pricing,'' initiated under ASF Cir 207, 1944. See Smith, The Army 
and Economic Mobilization, 339-50, for details on this program. 



thrower, for example, the Kincaid Manufacturing Co. of New York City 
early in 1941 was assigned the job of developing a flame thrower. By the 
time this contract was completed the E. C Brown Co. of Rochester, N.Y., 
was called on to manufacture the item. Later two other companies, the 
Beattie Manufacturing Co. of Little Falls, N.J., and R. F. Sedgley, Inc., 
of Philadelphia were also awarded similar contracts. A comparison of the 
prices charged by these contractors enabled the CWS to effect reductions. 
These price reductions amounted to over 27 percent for the period of the 
war. 84 

While most CW items were manufactured by a number of contrac- 
tors, there were occasional exceptions. For example, the barrel of the MlAl 
and the later M2 chemical mortar was made exclusively by the Bell 
Machine Co. of Oshkosh, Wis., which also assembled the mortar. It was 
not possible, therefore, for the CWS Purchase Policies staff to make com- 
parative studies of prices and costs of this item. On its own initiative the 
Bell Machine Co. reduced prices and made large refunds to the govern- 
ment in the period 1942-45. Acknowledging that the attitude of the con- 
tractor was commendable, the chief of the Purchase Policies Branch felt 
that completely accurate cost data could not be obtained unless the com- 
pany installed an adequate cost accounting system. The company readily 
accepted this suggestion and it further agreed to co-operate with CWS 
engineers and accountants who went to its plant in the spring of 1945 to 
conduct an extensive study of costs. As a result of the CWS study, the 
Bell Machine Co. voluntarily reduced its prices once more, from $724.30 
to $575.00 per unit on one contract and from $649.30 to $575.00 per unit 
on another. 85 

CWS experience with pricing chemicals dated from the emergency 
period, when, as has been indicated, unprecedented demands arose for cer- 
tain components of the incendiary bomb, including thermite. Thermite 
was manufactured in relatively small quantities in peacetime, and it sold 
on the open market for twenty-eight cents a pound. In the fall of 1941 
the commanding officer of the New York Procurement District conducted 
an investigation into the price at which the chemical could be manufac- 
tured profitably on a large scale. With the assistance of a chemical broker 
and two officers with accounting background, he learned that something 

S4 Analysis of CWS Pricing Record, pp. 89-92. See jch. XV| below for details on the procurement 
of flame throwers and other weapons. 

85 Ltr, Pres Bell Machine Co to C CWS, 26 May 45. Reproduced in Analysis of CWS Pricing 
Activities, pp. 55-58. 



in the neighborhood of eight cents a pound would be a reasonable price. 
He then made arrangements with certain ceramic manufacturers, whose 
plants were idle because of WPB restrictions, to produce the thermite at 
eight cents a pound or less. 86 This was the start of a campaign carried on 
throughout the war period to secure chemicals at a reasonable price to the 
government, a campaign that between January 1942 and May 1945 led to 
a reduction of 20 percent in the price of chemicals. 87 This figure com- 
pared favorably to the overall price reduction of 22 percent for all CW 
items and components from 1 January 1942 through 15 August 1945. 88 

The activity of the Chemical Commodity Division in effecting a reduc- 
tion in prices is well illustrated in the case of napalm. 89 By the spring of 
1944 seven contractors throughout the United States were producing this 
material at prices which varied as much as ten cents a pound. Upon in- 
vestigation the Chemical Commodity Division discovered that the low cost 
producers were invariably those who had installed up-to-date labor saving 
equipment. The division representatives thereupon made arrangements to 
have such equipment adopted by other manufacturers. This action resulted 
in a general leveling off in the prices of the various manufacturers. 90 

Some of the problems the service and its contractors faced were com- 
mon to all military procurement. These included the shortage of raw 
materials and machine tools, frequent changes in production schedules, 
and difficulty in obtaining and training competent workers for arsenal and 
depot operations. But the CWS generally found these problems more com- 
plicated because of the low priority which the War Department placed on 
chemical warfare items and because the CWS lacked experience in the 
manufacture of every item except the gas mask. 

In carrying out its vast and varied procurement program in the early 
war years, the CWS made notable advances, particularly in compiling up- 
to-date bills of material and in inaugurating an improved system of in- 
spection and a sound pricing program. Impressive as this record was there 
was still considerable room for improvement. But before improvement 
could be made, a drastic change had to be brought about in Army think- 

8fi Interv, Hist Off with Col S. N. Cummings, 14 Sep 51. 

87 WD Monthly Progress Report, Section ID, 3 May 45. 

88 Analysis of CWS Pricing Record, Introduct ion. 

89 For details on procurement of napalm see ch [ XVI b elow, 

90 (1) History of Chemical Commodity Procurement, 1 Aug 44-13 Nov 45, p. 67. (2) Interv, 
Hist Off 10 Jun 58 with following former members of the Chemical Commodity Div: Walter C. 
Gibbons, Jerome F. McGinty, Robert J. Milano, and Benjamin M. Redmerski. 



ing with regard to supply. A basic defect was the tendency to treat the 
main facets of supply— procurement and distribution — as separate entities. 
During the second half of World War II the Army initiated a program 
aimed at correcting the situation, a program whose main objective was the 
balancing of procurement and distribution. 


Balancing Procurement and 

Developments of the Early War Years 

During the early part of the war when the Army was placing great 
emphasis on mobilizing men and materiel, CWS officers engaged in op- 
erations had little opportunity to concentrate on administrative improve- 
ments. Many of them both in the Washington headquarters and in the 
installations were working fourteen or more hours a day, with certain 
headquarters divisions running two shifts of civilian clerks. Some officers 
set up cots in their offices and seldom went home. Since most supervisory 
energies were absorbed in mobilization operations, the development of up- 
to-date administrative procedures lagged far behind. To more rapidly bring 
about greater efficiency, General Somervell, the commanding general of the 
ASF, directed the various elements of his command to set up units, known 
as control divisions or branches, whose chief function was to conduct sur- 
veys and studies aimed at administrative betterment. 

The principal managerial deficiency throughout the supply system was 
a lack of co-ordination between the demonstrated needs of the troops in 
the field and the capacities of the procurement and distribution systems. 
To provide the necessary co-ordination, officials would have to root out 
inefficiency and waste, those inevitable products of mobilization haste. 
They could achieve this objective only by acquiring and analyzing com- 
prehensive and accurate information on field requirements and on the actual 
operation of the supply system. At the beginning of the war planners did 
not have the experience to determine even what kind of information they 
needed. As they gained that experience, the principal problem was to 
evolve reporting and co-ordinating procedures which would make it useful. 



The Control Division of the chiefs office and similar units within the 
installations attacked this problem and did much to establish more busi- 
ness-like procedures throughout the CWS. Co-operating closely with the 
Control Division, OC CWS, was the competent staff of the Industrial 
Service (in July 1942 it was renamed the Industrial Division). 

One of the Office of the Chiefs earliest administrative studies was 
aimed at eliminating excessive paper work throughout the CWS. In the 
summer of 1942 the Administration and Management Branch, Control 
Division, in conjunction with the Executive Office, Industrial Division, 
made a survey of the forms and records maintained in the Washington 
headquarters and at the installations. They found that the installations had 
independently developed their own forms, 90 percent of which could have 
been eliminated without loss of efficiency, and that there was a stagger- 
ing duplication of records between the chiefs office and the installations. 1 
Yet, despite all the record keeping, or probably because of it, no one in 
the CWS could tell just what was in the supply system. What was needed 
was an improved method of statistical control. 

This need became all the more urgent after the ASF began to com- 
pile monthly progress reports on procurement and supply. In gathering 
information for these reports, Headquarters, ASF, requested accurate data 
from the various technical services on the quantity of items: (1) to be 
produced; (2) actually produced; (3) on hand at points of procurement; 
(4) en route to depots; (5) received at depots; (6) in storage at depots; 
and (7) issued by depots. In the fall of 1942 the Chief, CWS, charged 
the Control Division with developing an accurate system of statistical re- 
porting. He assigned responsibility for carrying out the work to a financial 
statistician commissioned from civilian life, Maj. Philip J. FitzGerald of 
the Statistics and Progress Branch of Control Division. 

FitzGerald first undertook to draw up an accurate definition of a pro- 
cured item. The CWS installations and contractors were employing a 
variety of criteria for determining when an item was actually procured. 
For example, certain munitions were said to have been procured before 
they had been proof tested— and it sometimes took weeks for them to be 
tested— while others were not considered procured until after they had 
been proof tested. In most instances end items were considered procured 
only after all components had been assembled. But some items were de- 
fined as procured even though all components had not been assembled 
into the end product. FitzGerald, upon investigation, determined that the 

1 OC CWS, Activities of Control Division for Period 1 5 Nov 4 2 to 3 1 Dec 43 , p. 1 2a. 


Officer Personnel of the Control Division. From left: 1st Lt. Selig J. 
Levitan, Maj. Philip J, FitzGerald, Lt. Col. Llewellyn G, Ludtvig, Colonel Kuhn, Lt. 
Col. Jacob K. Javits, Maj. Edward Mery f Capt. Lyman C Duncan, and 1st Lt. James 
J. Troy. 

only sound criterion for describing an article as procured was the delivery 
of the "tally-in" by the Inspection Division to the Finance Office. This 
unique document not only described the article as combat worthy, but 
also established the CWS's financial responsibility for the item. The Sta- 
tistics and Progress Branch pointed out to the Industrial and Inspection 
Divisions, OC CWS, the desirability of reporting all procurement from 
CWS installations on the sole basis of tally-ins and by early 1943 this 
was accepted practice. From then on the CWS could accurately compare 
production forecast with production accomplished. 2 

By the summer of 1943 the Supply Division, OC CWS, was receiving 
copies of War Department Shipping Documents which accompanied all 
shipments of materials. On the basis of these documents the CWS for the 
first time compiled accurate statistics on materiel shipped to the ports of 
embarkation and other points in the zone of interior. With these figures, 
together with those on procurement, the CWS could calculate the amount 
of materiel in transit, the amount received in depots, and the amount 
shipped directly to the various units. 

2 Incerv, Hist Off with Col Philip J. FitzGerald, 10 Oct 56 and Ltr, FitzGerald to Hist Off, 8 
Feb 57. 



In mid-1943 General Porter set up a "Situation Room" in his head- 
quarters where a representative of the Control Division, usually Major 
FitzGerald, briefed the chief and his staff on the data to appear in the 
monthly progress report. This procedure led the chiefs office to a greater 
awareness of the procurement and supply problems of the CWS and to 
closer co-operation by those responsible for supervising procurement and 
those responsible for supervising the storage and issue of materiel. 3 

The surveys which the Control Division, OC CWS, conducted through- 
out 1942 and 1943 indicated an excessive degree of centralization in the 
Washington headquarters. This centralization was due in part to lack of 
standardized procedures and organizations throughout the CWS installa- 
tions. By the summer of 1943 the latter condition had been largely cor- 
rected, 4 and it then became possible to decentralize many activities to the 
installations. The Central Planning Section, Industrial Division, OC CWS, 
headed by Lt. Col. Stanton D. Sanson, took the lead in the project. In 
the summer and fall of 1943 this section, in co-operation with the Con- 
trol Division, OC CWS, and the commanding officers of the installations, 
drew up a decentralization plan which they labeled the 1944 Procurement 

Under the new plan the Industrial Division, OC CWS, assumed the 
role of a staff rather than an operating agency. It prepared procurement 
schedules of end items for the installations, based on the Army Supply 
Program. In preparing these schedules the division consulted frequently 
with installation officials. Three weeks after the schedules were drawn up, 
a meeting of representatives of the chiefs office, the arsenals, and the dis- 
tricts was held in Washington for the purpose of arranging the manufac- 
ture and delivery of components which the installations could not procure 
within their own confines. 

Under the 1944 Procurement Plan the chiefs office was no longer re- 
sponsible for furnishing each installation with needed components; instead 
the districts and the arsenals dealt directly with one another, and the in- 
stallation with whom the order had been placed was held responsible for 
delivery. Each installation was to procure its own components whenever 
possible. Each installation, moreover, was urged to write contracts for end 
items only, leaving the procurement of components to the prime contractor. 5 

3 Activities of the Co ntrol Division 15 Nov 42-3 1 Dec 42, p. 21. 

4 Brophy and Fisher, Organizing for War, ch. VI.| 

3 Chemical Warfare Service Procurement Plan for 1944 Procurement, 12 Aug 43. CWS 314.7 
Procurement File. 



The new plan was received enthusiastically by key officers in most instal- 
lations. Typical of reactions to it were the remarks of the officer in charge of 
arsenal operations at Pine Bluff Arsenal, Col. H. M. Black: 

The added responsibilities given to the Arsenals and Procurement Districts, in that 
they alone are responsible for controlling and maintaining adequate stock positions of 
all direct materials required for the production of CWS end-items, had tended to bring 
the Arsenals and Procurement Districts closer together for better co-operation. Services 
and requests for services are exchanged much more freely. At no time previously has 
the general stock position at this Arsenal on all raw materials been in such favorable 
condition, and this Arsenal feels that with the privileges allowed in the plan, this con- 
dition can be perpetuated. 6 

While the Industrial Division was devising improved procurement pro- 
cedures, the Supply Division, OC CWS, was developing a better system 
of distribution. In the early war period the Supply Division had issued 
materiel on the basis of notices of availability from production sources, 
routing the materiel to the storage facility nearest the manufacturer. While 
this practice made for a certain degree of convenience, the materiel later 
often had to be reshipped. Supply Division would frequently discover that 
depot A, to which the item had been sent, had a surplus of the item while 
depot B, more distant from the original point of procurement, had a defi- 
cit; the resulting reshipment, or "back hauling," from depot A to depot B 
was considerably more costly of scarce transportation and handling serv- 
ices than original shipment to the more distant depot would have been. 
After the Industrial Division, in mid- 1943, came up with more accurate 
production forecasts, the Supply Division began planning distribution of 
newly procured items on the basis of those forecasts rather than on notices 
of availability. The result was a great decrease in the number of back hauls. 
A second innovation that led to a decline in the number of back hauls 
was the practice of correlating the stock levels of the depots with the troop 
basis of the particular theater that the depot served. 7 

Another malpractice that plagued the CWS distribution system in the 
early war period was cross hauling. A cross haul took place when a load 
of a specific item passed another load going in the opposite direction. A 
flagrant instance of cross hauling in the spring of 1944 led the Supply 
Division to take vigorous steps to eliminate the practice. Huntsville Ar- 
senal had requested some 4.2-inch shells filled with HE for demonstration 

8 Ltr, CO PBA co C CWS Attn: C Ind Div, 10 Mar 44, sub: Comments on Effectiveness of 1944 
Procurement Plan. CWS 400.12. 

7 Interv, Hist Off with William Harris, II, 29 Aug 57. Harris was a key officer in Supply Division, 
OC CWS, from May 43 until afcer close of World War II. 



Executive Branch of the Industrial Division. From left: Lt. Joel 0. Henry, 
Maj. Henry G. Baker, Jr., Lt, Col Robert T. Norman, Col. Clarence W. Crowell, General 
English, Col Lester W. Hurd, Lt, Col, Louis W. Munchmeyer, Maj. Stanton D. 
Sanson, Lt. Edgar St. Clair. 

purposes. Upon receiving the request the Supply Division, OC CWS, tele- 
phoned Deseret Depot headquarters in Utah to ship the shells by fast 
freight. That installation thereupon arranged for attaching a freight car 
containing the shells to a passenger train heading toward Huntsville. About 
the time this train was leaving Deseret a freight train loaded with the 
same type shell was leaving Parsons, Kans., where the Ordnance Depart- 
ment filled chemical shells with HE, for Deseret, At an intermediate point, 
the west bound train was sidetracked to allow the east bound train to 
pass. From then until the end of the war the Supply Division waged an 
intensive campaign not only to eliminate cross hauls but also to encour- 
age more frequent shipments of cargo direct from manufacturer to user. 8 

Advent of the Supply Control Program 

Efforts to improve procurement and distribution procedures were not 
confined to the CWS, but were characteristic of other elements of the Army 

8 (1) Ibid. (2) Rpt of CWS, 1945, pp. 77-78. 



as well. In the ASF these efforts were closely related to a program to con- 
serve manpower and materiel that got under way in late 1942 and con- 
tinued throughout the war period. By the end of 1943 procurement of 
initial equipment for the Army had been carried out and many categories 
of munitions were in good supply. The year 1944 was to see a concerted 
attempt by the ASF to balance procurement and distribution. 9 

In the early summer of 1943 the newly created government "super 
agency," the Office of War Mobilization, requested each of the agencies 
engaged in government procurement to set up a board of review to study 
and make recommendations on improving methods of establishing require- 
ments and of procurement practices generally. In response to this request, 
the War Department appointed a board, headed by Maj. Gen. Frank S. 
McCoy, USA, Ret. On 31 August 1943 the McCoy board submitted its 
report, including recommendations for more adequate screening of require- 
ments and increased attention to inventory control. Several days later the 
War Department appointed another board, headed by Brig. Gen. George J. 
Richards, to resurvey the following five specific areas of requirements de- 
termination: (1) the strategic reserve; (2) theater reserves; (3) stockpiles 
in the United States; (4) day of supply; and (5) maintenance, distribu- 
tion, and shipping loss factors. The Richards board came up with fifty- 
seven specific recommendations which were incorporated into a general 
implementing directive issued by the Deputy Chief of Staff, Lt. Gen. 
Joseph T, McNarney, on 1 January 1944. 10 

After issuance of this document generally referred to as the McNarney 
directive, the ASF set up a system aimed at closer co-ordination of the 
various phases of procurement and distribution. Known as the Supply Con- 
trol System, it was formally announced in ASF Circular 67, 7 March 1944. 
Its aims were summarized as follows by the Requirements and Stock Con- 
trol Division, ASF, at the time the system was being put into operation: 

The Supply Control System adjusts production to demands by requiring realistic 
estimates of equipment and weapons needed for: 
Supplying troops newly activated. 
Replacing losses due to wear and combat. 
Providing special equipment for unusual operations. 

Maintaining a proper level of supply in each overseas theater so that abnormal 
usage for short periods and interruptions in shipping will not endanger operations. 
These levels will average about 100 days of expected usage depending on theater location. 

9 ( 1 ) Richard M. Leighton and Roberc W. Coakley, Global Logistics and Strategy, UNITED 
STATES ARMY IN WORLD WAR II (Washington, 1955), p 632. (2) Millett, The Organization 
and Role of the Army Service Forces, pp. 373-84. 

10 Smith, The Army and Economic Mobilization, ch. VII. 



Maintaining a proper level of supply in U.S. depots so that fluctuating demands 
and production difficulties will not result in short supply. The maximum level of 90 
days is decreased if production and issue experience justify less. 

Building up a Strategic Reserve for emergency use. Estimates are checked against 
all pertinent factors including issue experience. From these needs stocks available in 
depots and returns of materiel from deactivated units, inactive theaters, and other 
sources are deducted. Production is then scheduled to meet but not exceed the balance 
of needs by months and quarters for a two year period. 

The system further permits immediate quantitative identification of any stocks avail- 
able for redistribution or disposal as surplus. 11 

The Supply Control System provided for two general categories of 
items, principal items and secondary items. For principal items a form was 
devised which summarized on a single page all important supply and de- 
mand information on a monthly basis for the three months preceding and 
the three months following the date of estimate, and for two quarterly 
periods and two semiannual periods thereafter. For secondary items a short 
form was devised. General instructions on the Supply Control System were 
published in an ASF Manual which went through several revisions. 12 In 
Headquarters, ASF, the Requirements Division was merged with the Stock 
Control Division, with the new organization to supervise the administra- 
tion of the control system throughout the technical services. 

In conformity with the provisions of ASF Circular 67, the Chief, CWS, 
established a Materiel Planning Branch in April 1944 to compute require- 
ments under the Supply Control System. There was a difference of opinion 
between the two Assistant Chiefs, CWS, over who should control the 
work of this branch. General Waitt, Assistant Chief for Field Operations, 
believed he should have the responsibility because he felt that the deter- 
mination of requirements should be entirely divorced from procurement 
and supply activities. 13 General Ditto, Assistant Chief for Materiel, main- 
tained on the other hand, that the requirements function could not be 
separated from procurement and supply activities and that he should there- 
fore have jurisdiction over the new branch. 14 General Porter intervened 
with a compromise solution by directing that the Chief of the Materiel 

11 Memo, Reqmts and Stock Control Div, ASF, sub: The Supply Control System. Reqmts and 
Stock Control Div ASF File. 

12 ASF Manual M-413, editions of 20 Jul 44, 22 Dec 44, and 10 Apr 45. 

11 (1) Memo, Brig Gen A. H. Waitt for Maj Gen Porter, 24 Feb 44, sub: Record Keeping 
and Use of Figures in Control of Operations— Responsibilities of Field Operations Command. (2) 
Memo, Brig Gen A. H. Waitt for Maj Gen Porter, sub: Army Supply Program. This memo was 
written to supplement the 24 Feb 44 memo. Both in CWS 314.7 Requirements File. 

14 Interv, Hist Off with Lt Col Lyman C. Duncan, 23 Jun 55. Duncan was chief of the Materiel 
Planning Branch (later Division) during World War II. 


Planning Branch, Lt. Col. Lyman C. Duncan, report to the Assistant Chief 
for Materiel, but that the Assistant Chief for Field Operations should su- 
pervise those activities of the branch for which he had final responsibility. 15 
General Porter apparently saw the need in this instance for a further ap- 
plication of the type of co-operative effort that had begun to develop in 
the Situation Room meetings. This is indicated by his action in appoint- 
ing a Requirements Planning Committee, made up of representatives from 
the offices of the two assistant chiefs, to consider the supply and demand 
status of all CWS items. 16 

Shortly after the Supply Control System was inaugurated, the War De- 
partment revised its troop basis to include about 13,000 organizations. The 
Materiel Planning Branch computed requirements for these units on a 
Table of Allowances basis. 17 It used a key punch multiplier to obtain the 
gross requirement of chemical warfare items by multiplying the number 
of units, organizations, and individuals on the current troop basis by the 
stated number of items listed for the unit, organization, or individual on 
the Tables of Allowances. 

The gross requirement was the keystone on which estimates were based 
under the Supply Control System. It was modified for each item in ac- 
cordance with one or more of the following factors: stock on hand, esti- 
mated special requirements, current issue experience, amount in the pipe- 
line needed to maintain an even flow of supplies, production lead time, 
impending standardization of a substitute item, abnormal replacement rates 
of principal components, and required special handling or storage. 

At no time during the war did the determination of requirements de- 
velop into an exact science. There was the ever present risk of sudden 
and unforeseen demands upon the supply system and only the rash and 
unorthodox supply officer would postulate that there would be no mili- 
tary reversals, no sudden changes in tactics or strategy, no initiation of 
gas warfare. Gentlemen of what might be called the "old school" of sup- 
ply planners tended to favor the maximum production and issue of every 
item needed. War, they felt, was by its very nature wasteful and the for- 
tunes of war should not be jeopardized by possible shortages of any kind. 
The "Supply Control" school of planners, on the other hand, stressed the 

15 OC CWS Off O 7, 5 Apr 44. 

16 Ibid. 

17 Tables of Allowances were standardized extracts and condensations of individual tables of 
organization and equipment. Each table of equipment was a compilation of all the standard items 
of issue listed per unit or organization, or in some cases per person, within a particular arm or area. 



need for considering the limits of the nation's natural resources and man- 
power, the relative importance of required munitions, and the intelligent 
use of all available logistics information. Until the very end of the war 
these two schools were represented in the CWS Requirements Planning 
Committee, although the views of the "Supply Control" group, backed as 
they were by the ASF, became ever more dominant. 

The emphasis which the ASF placed on balancing procurement and 
distribution under the Supply Control System led the CWS to keep a more 
careful check on inventories. From April to June 1944 inspection teams 
composed of representatives of the Inspection, Technical, and Field Re- 
quirements Divisions, OC CWS, visited the various CWS depots and CW 
sections of Army depots to determine by actual count what material was 
available in the zone of interior for shipment overseas. With the assist- 
ance of depot personnel, 18 these teams inspected all items in the depots, 
and classified them as active, inactive, obsolete, surplus, or unserviceable. 
They found that 40 percent of the items were in categories other than ac- 
tive. On the basis of the teams' findings the chiefs office compiled a 10- 
volume report listing the items throughout all the depots. 19 With this 
report as a guide, the CWS undertook a general house cleaning in its depots 
and sections to discard or declare surplus all useless items. Perhaps no 
single development during the war did so much to improve the quality 
of items stored and issued by the CWS. 

Procurement and Distribution of Spare Parts 

During the first year of war the CWS concentrated on the procure- 
ment of end items and paid little attention to the procurement of spare 
parts. The procedure for procuring parts was simply to divert a portion 
of components to the Indianapolis Depot or in certain instances to the 
Edgewood Depot or to one of the chemical sections of the War Depart- 
ment depots. 20 The quantity of materiel being set aside as spare parts proved 
entirely inadequate so that by the spring of 1943 the Office of the Chief, 

18 Memo, C Insp Div, OC CWS, for C Sup Div, OC CWS, 18 May 44, sub: Reinspection of 
Materiel in CWS and ASF Depots. CWS 314.7 Inspection File. 

13 Reinspection of all CW Materiel in Depots Within Continental United States Compiled by 
Inspection Division, OC CWS, 31 May 44. CWS 314.7 Inspection File. 

20 In February 1942 the Chief, Supply Division, OC CWS, decided to have CW spare parts 
stored at the Indianapolis Depot. Interv, Hist Off with Col Oscar Gullans, 6 Dec 54. Gullans com- 
manded this depot in World War II. ASF did not officially designate the place as a spare parts 
depot until 14 May 43, under ASF Memo S- 5 0-3-4 3. 



CWS, was issuing parts to ports of embarkation "on a hand-to-mouth 
basis." 21 Reports on spare part shortages from the theaters of operation 
were becoming alarming. In November 1943 CWS organizations in Italy 
actually set up manufacturing lines to produce spare parts and a year later 
CWS organizations in France did the same thing. 22 

By early 1943 the ASF had become seriously concerned over the spare 
parts situation throughout all the technical services and was conducting 
a number of studies aimed at a solution. 23 It found that among the short- 
comings in the CWS spare parts program, besides the delay in procure- 
ment, were lack of a complete system of stock numbering and identification, 
confused nomenclature, and absence of a definite procedure for checking 
estimates of actual usage in the field. The Chief, Control Division, OC 
CWS, in commenting on the findings of the ASF, admitted that unfortu- 
nately many of the criticisms were true, but added that efforts were being 
made to improve the situation. 24 

The first important step to improve the spare parts situation in the 
CWS was the activation of a Spare Parts and Catalog Branch in the Field 
Requirements Division in July 1943. 25 This branch, headed by Maj. John L. 
Eddy and located at Edgewood, prepared standard nomenclature and price 
lists, compiled requirements of spare parts, and prepared the spare pans 
catalogs for issuance to the field. 26 The catalogs contained photographs 
and sketches to permit easy identification in field use. 

A further step toward the solution of the spare parts problem was taken 
as the result of an ASF policy announced on 6 July 1943. This policy pro- 
vided that spare parts were to be issued to provide maintenance for not 
less than 12 months or more than 18 months and that such parts were 
to be delivered "simultaneously with equipment deliveries." 27 To carry 
out this directive the CWS made provisions in its Procurement Plan for 
1944 to step up the production and distribution of spare parts. Under the 

21 Spare Parts for CWS Equipment (Report). ASF, G-4 Chemical Warfare Rpt 102, Apr 43. 
CG, ASF File. 

22 See Pritchard, Kleber, and Birdsell, |Chemicals in Combat] 

23 Hist of Contl Div ASF 1942-1945, Appendix, Project 62. In OCMH. 

24 Ltr, C Contl Div, OC CWS, to Dir Opns Hq ASF, 11 Jun 43, sub: Spare Parts for Chem- 
ical Warfare Equipment. CWS 400, Army Supply Program, Apr-Jun 43. 

25 OC CWS Adm O 13, 3 Jul 43. 

26 Spare Parts for CWS Equipment. ASF, G-4 Spare Parts for CWS Equipment Rpt 144, Nov 
43. CG, ASF File. This survey was conducted by Office of the Director of Stock Control, Mainte- 
ance Division, and Control Division, ASF. 

27 (1) ASF, Memo W 700-32-43, 6 Jul 43, referred to and quoted in ibid. (2) See also Hist 
of Contl Div ASF 1942-1945, Appendix, Project 62. 



plan, the Industrial Division, OC CWS, was to furnish the installations 
promptly with lists of the spare parts to be procured by the contractors. 
In some instances the parts were to accompany the end item to the point 
of destination, in others they were to be shipped to the Indianapolis Depot. 28 

Another move to improve the spare parts situation came with the inaugu- 
ration of the Supply Control System. In order to analyze the stock control 
position of each of the 10,000 CW parts, it was necessary to scrutinize care- 
fully their procurement and supply status. 29 To obtain the necessary data 
on spare parts as well as on end items, the Materiel Planning Branch was 
assigned the mission of collating the Stock Status reports and the monthly 
procurement reports. 30 

In spite of the various measures taken to improve the situation the 
procurement and distribution of spare parts was still unsatisfactory in the 
fall of 1944. For one thing the provisions of the CWS Procurement Plan 
for 1944 were not working out as successfully as had been anticipated. 
The list of spare parts which the Industrial Division, OC CWS, was fur- 
nishing the procurement districts contained items which had lead times 
varying from twenty days to six months and which had to be procured 
from various contractors. The task facing the districts of procuring, stor- 
ing, and shipping the parts was complicated by the Industrial Division 
requirement for simultaneous shipping of all parts on any procurement 
list. The Industrial Division eventually eliminated this particular problem 
by drawing up shorter lists, each containing parts having approximately 
the same lead time. 31 

In the fall of 1944 the Office of the Chief, CWS, reached the conclu- 
sion that the spare parts problem would not be fully solved until all the 
various functions— requisition, initiation of procurement, and distribution- 
were centralized at the Indianapolis Depot. 32 In late 1944 and early 1945 

28 Chemical Warfare Service Procurement Plan for 1944 Procurement, 12 Aug 43- CWS 314.7 
Procurement File. 

29 The dollar value of spare parts procurement in CWS between July 1940 and October 1945 
amounted to over $78,000,000, See Memo, AC Supply and Dist Div to C Contl Div, OC CWS, 
1 Feb 46, sub: Dollar Value of Spare Parts. CWS 314.7 Spare Parts File. 

30 Resume of Activities, OC CWS, for Week Ending 7 Oct 44. CWS 314.7 Supply Con- 
trol File. (2) Memo, Dir Plans and Opns ASF for C CWS, 31 Oct 44, sub: Report of Status of 
Spare Parts Supply Control and 1st Ind thereto. CWS 400 Oct thru Dec 1944. (3) OC CWS Off 
O 5, 24 Feb 45. 

31 (1) Ltr, ExO Ind Div, OC CWS, to CO NYCWPD, 28 Aug 44, sub: Spare Parts Study, 
CWS 400. (2) Ltr, Actg C Ind Div, OC CWS to NYCWPD, 10 Nov 44, Sub: Spare Parts Pro- 
curement, and 1st Ind. CWS 400. 

32 Memo, C Contl Div, OC CWS, for AC CWS for Field Operations, 19 Oct 44, sub: Spare 
Parts. CWS 314.7 Spare Parts File. This memo was written by S.J. Levitan of the Control Division. 


this centralization was carried out. All requisitions for spare parts were 
sent directly to the Indianapolis Depot instead of, as formerly, to the various 
CWS depots and sections. This innovation resulted in a saving in delivery 
time of from 10 to 30 days on parts produced by the CWS and of from 
15 to 40 days on parts bought under contract. Indianapolis Depot estab- 
lished direct contact with the procurement district offices on packaging 
and shipping problems and in many instances dealt directly with the manu- 
facturers of the parts in the districts. 33 

Improved Maintenance Practices 

Greater emphasis on maintenance of materiel was a feature of the cam- 
paign to bring procurement and distribution into balance. 34 In the period 
between the wars the quantity of chemical warfare supplies was extremely 
limited and consequently maintenance was not much of a problem. Most 
CW supplies were stored at the Edgewood Depot, which had access to 
the shops at the arsenal to do required maintenance. In the field the CW 
sections in division and company headquarters were responsible for first 
and second echelon maintenance while repair shops near the posts or at 
Ordnance Department depots carried on the higher echelon repairs. 35 The 
CW sections normally consisted of one officer and several enlisted men. 

In the first two years of the war more than 75 percent of all mainte- 
nance activities were third, fourth, and fifth echelon. 36 Third and fourth 
echelon work was accomplished at the principal shop located at Edgewood 
Arsenal or at the other shops at Camp Sibert and Huntsville, Pine Bluff, 
and Rocky Mountain Arsenals. Fifth echelon maintenance or complete re- 
build was generally done by contracting with the manufacturer of the item. 
In the case of the gas mask, the CWS awarded contracts to four indus- 
trial concerns who were not the original manufacturers. 37 Because facilities 
were limited at the Chemical Warfare shops, it was also occasionally nec- 
essary to send equipment to commercial machine shops to expedite third 

33 Rpt of CWS, 1945, pp. 61-64. 

34 Maintenance was denned as "care taken and work done to keep any item of equipment in 
good working condition" in TM 20-205, Dictionary of U.S. Army Terms, 18 Jan 44. 

35 First echelon maintenance was performed by the individual, while second echelon mainte- 
nance was carried out by an organization using tools provided in the T/O&E. 

36 Third echelon maintenance was performed by depot companies, and fourth echelon mainte- 
nance was accomplished in rear areas. Ltr, C Fid Serv, OC CWS, to CG AGF, et aL, 15 Aug 42, 
sub: Maintenance of CWS Materiel. CWS 470.72. As a result of an ASF directive of May 1943 
two echelons were made out of the third, and the fourth echelon then became the fifth echelon. 

37 These contractors were: Hub Hosiery Mills of Boston; Cluett Peabody, Inc., of Troy, N.Y.; 
Dryden Rubber Co. of Keokuk, Iowa; and Joyce, Inc., of Los Angeles. 



and fourth echelon rehabilitation. 38 From 1942 until the close of the war 
twenty chemical maintenance companies were trained for the ground and 
service forces and fourteen companies were activated for the assistance of 
the Air Forces. These companies helped with the maintenance task in the 
United States, but by the late spring of 1944 all but one of the mainte- 
nance companies then in existence were serving at overseas stations. 39 

Thus, with an increasing maintenance workload caused by increasing 
stocks, the CWS was now beginning to meet serious maintenance prob- 
lems. The existing shops were proving inadequate and the practice of 
contracting fifth echelon maintenance to the original manufacturer was prov- 
ing to have drawbacks. One drawback was that certain items of equipment, 
such as the power driven decontaminating apparatus, came in several 
models and each manufacturer usually could repair his own model only. 
Another drawback to contracting was that a number of manufacturers es- 
timated the cost of repair on the basis of a complete rebuild job which 
made CWS maintenance costs unduly high. Securing officers with the nec- 
essary technical knowledge to supervise maintenance operations was another 

These problems had arisen earlier in other technical services, and the 
Maintenance Division, ASF, had initiated two far-reaching programs in 
the search for solutions. One of these was the reclamation program which 
was defined as "the process of restoring to usefulness condemned, discarded, 
abandoned, or damaged property or components thereof by repair, refabri- 
cation, or renovation." 40 By the summer of 1943 this program was being 
emphasized in the CWS, with good results. For example, a number of 
WP shells had failed in proof firing and it had been found that there was 
an excessive quantity of water in each shell. To overcome this condition 
the workers tapped the shells at the nose by drilling a small hole and 
draining off the excess water. They then drove a tapered pin into the shell 
to form a closure. After these reworked shells were reproofed, they func- 
tioned in a satisfactory manner. Again, some arsenals had a practice of 
burying their worn out reactor coils. But Huntsville Arsenal developed a 
method of reclaiming these coils by dipping them (after they had been 
given some decontamination treatment) in refuse oil and then burning 
them in a hot fire for several hours. The arsenal sold the burnt iron as 

38 Ltr, C CWS co CG ASF, Attn: Dir Maine Div, 29 Apr 43, sub: Improvements of Mainte- 
nance Practices and Procedure s. CWS 400,4. 

39 See Brophy and Fisher, prganizing for Wa r, app.~F] 

40 ASF Cir 140, 6 Dec 43. 



scrap. The CWS extended this practice to its other arsenals. 41 Another 
ASF program aimed at improving maintenance practices was the establish- 
ment of centralized maintenance shops. These shops, first activated in the 
fall of 1943, were under service command jurisdiction and repaired equip- 
ment of all the technical services. 42 The centralized shops were organized 
along functional lines and included the following individual shops: auto- 
motive, armament and instrument, clothing and equipment, electrical 
equipment, machine, and paint. 43 

The CWS, like other technical services, was entitled to the use of the 
ASF combined shops, but at first hesitated to use them because the per- 
sonnel was not familiar with chemical warfare equipment. 44 Officials felt 
that trained CWS field representatives should be dispatched to the service 
commands to offer assistance on CW items. Beginning in the spring of 
1944 a number of officers, selected on the basis of initiative and sound 
judgment, were sent out on this mission. Before departing, they were in- 
structed to contact the directors of maintenance in the service commands 
to assist them in selecting the shops best equipped to handle chemical 
warfare items. They were directed to "inspect all large equipment such 
as the power driven decontaminating apparatus; smoke generators; com- 
pressors; equipment (water heater) for the power driven decontaminating 
apparatus; trailers; Chemical service trucks; cranes with swinging boom . . . 
They were to render assistance to commanding officers of CW depots on 
technical matters relating to the repair, maintenance, and storage of CW 
items. 45 

The problem of fifth echelon maintenance was solved by setting up a 
fifth echelon maintenance shop at Rocky Mountain Arsenal. This shop 
was established in November 1944, but it was several months before it 
got into operation. In the spring of 1945, as redeployment planning for 
Pacific operations got under way, it appeared that the capacity of the 
Rocky Mountain shop would be inadequate for repairing materiel needed 

41 Memo, C Contl Div, OC CWS, for CG ASF, Atcn: Dir Maint Div, 21 Jul 43, sub: Distribu- 
tion of Reclamation Information. CWS 400, July 1943. 

42 WD Memo 210-25-43, 7 Sep 43- 

4a Memo, Dir of Opns ASF for QMG, 31 Jul 43, sub: Combined Shops at Posts, Camps, and 
Stations. CWS 314.7 Maintenance File. 

4A WD Cir 7, 5 Jan 44, outlined the general procedure for using the shops. This circular was 
later amended by WD Cir 90, 29 Feb 44. 

45 Instructions to Maintenance Branch Inspectors, 9 Jun 44. These typed instructions are re- 
produced as Appendix N in Bernard Baum, Leo P. Brophy, Sylvester J. Hemleben, Chemical War- 
fare Supply Program, pt. 4, Scorage and Maintenance, vol. IV, in the series History of the Chem- 
ical Warfare Service in World War II ( 1 July 1940-15 August 1945). 



in the Pacific and another fifth echelon shop was opened at Huntsville 
Arsenal. 46 

The return of overseas materiel necessitated the formulation of a plan 
for receiving, classifying, and repairing various CW items. In conformity 
with a directive from the Distribution Division, ASF, the Chief, Supply 
Division, OC CWS, drew up such a plan in the spring of 1945. This plan 
divided CW materiel into six categories and established receiving ports 
and classification facilities for each category. To illustrate, flame throwers, 
classified as Class B items under the plan, were to be received at the east 
and west coast ports and at New Orleans, and were to be sent to Rocky 
Mountain Arsenal for repair. 47 

The problem of securing officers to supervise maintenance work was 
met by initiating a two-week training course at Camp Sibert. This course 
was first given from 28 May to 10 June 1944 and was repeated on two 
occasions in the summer and fall of 1944. An officer with extensive ex- 
perience in training maintenance companies was selected as instructor. The 
course covered both theory and practice in maintenance of specific chemi- 
cal warfare items, such as pumps for decontaminating apparatus made by 
different manufacturers, MlAl and M2-2 flame throwers, and the truck, 
crane, swinging boom, Ml. 48 

In addition to the problems of spare parts and maintenance which the 
CWS faced in its efforts to balance procurement and distribution, there 
were problems of property disposal and contract termination. 49 No sooner 
had the CWS procured its initial equipment than problems of property 
disposal began to arise. By early 1944 delay in disposing of inventory and 
industrial property was leading to delay in contract terminations through- 
out all the technical services. 50 

46 Memo, C Ind Div, OC CWS, for CO HA, 15 Jun 45, sub: Fifth Echelon Maintenance Shop. 
CWS 319.1. 

47 Ltr, C Sup Div, OC CWS, to CG ASF, Attn: Distribution Div, 15 May 45, sub: Return of 
CWS Materiel from Overseas. CWS 400 May-Jun 1945. 

48 Baum, Brophy, and Hemleben, Chemical Warfare Service Supply Program, Storage and 
Maintenance, p. 778 and app. L, 

49 Property disposal and contract termination wer e also closely related to demobilization plan- 
ning and will be discussed in that connection. See ch. | XVII| below. 

50 (1) Minutes of Meeting Staff Conference ASF, 22 Feb 44, p. 5. ASF Hist Files, National 
Archives. (2) Under Secretary of War Patterson later remarked: "Prompt and equitable settlement 
of terminated contracts aids production by removing impediments to the maximum utilization of 
production facilities, thereby enabling contractors to meet new demands for war production promptly 
and otherwise expedite the carrying on of war work." See Memo, USW fof CG AAF and CG ASF, 
12 Jan 45, sub: Relation of Production to Readjustment Activities. CWS 400.12. 



By the end of 1943, when the Army had completed its initial distribu- 
tion of materiel, the CWS had finished the bulk of its new construction 
and had gained valuable experience in procurement, inspection, and dis- 
tribution operations. The second half of the war witnessed greater stress 
on improvement of the supply system through adoption of more refined 
administrative procedures and through programs aimed at better mainte- 
nance practices and better control of spare parts. Problems of maintenance, 
spare parts, contract termination, and property disposal constituted poten- 
tial bottlenecks to production. 


Procurement of Defensive Materiel 

In addition to large quantities of service equipment, toxic agents, and 
raw chemicals the CWS in World War II procured a variety of defensive 
and offensive munitions. Included among the defensive items were the gas 
masks, impregnite, impregnating plants, protective ointment, detector kits, 
decontaminating apparatus and such miscellaneous items as shoe impreg- 
nite and dust respirators. 

Gas Mask Procurement 

During the years between the wars the Army manufactured gas masks 
for troops in its own production facility at Edgewood Arsenal. It was on 
this production line that the Chemical Warfare Service developed the basic 
tools and techniques for mass production of the service mask. But CWS 
planners were aware that in time of war a fully mobilized citizen army 
could not possibly be equipped with gas masks from a single small pro- 
duction line. From the early 1930's onward they assumed it would be 
necessary to bring private industrial firms into the gas mask program on a 
large scale as soon as mobilization became likely. Between 1934 and 1941 
the War Plans Division at Edgewood Arsenal completed arrangements for 
private production facilities capable of turning out 900,000 masks a month. 
As already noted, the first assembly plant established in an industrial fa- 
cility was set up by means of an educational order. 1 Completed just as 
the armed forces were beginning to expand to war strength, the educa- 
tional orders for gas masks were promptly replaced by full-scale produc- 

1 See 

ch. XII above 



tion contracts which were to yield more than thirty million industry- 
produced gas masks before the end of World War II. By the end of 1940, 
mass production of gas masks was well under way. 

Mass production of the gas mask gave rise to a number of problems. 2 
The mask and its major components were specialized military items un- 
familiar to private industry; moreover, as equipment which might mean 
the difference between life and death to the individual soldier, the Army 
required a high standard of precision in its manufacture. The first need 
of the contractors was for skilled and experienced workmen. There was 
but one place, Edgewood Arsenal, from which to draw them; accordingly 
men and women from Edgewood's gas mask plant joined the assembly 
lines at the factories as instructors and inspectors. In some cases they re- 
mained to form the nucleus of permanent inspection teams. 

Without the assistance of the experienced employees from the gas mask 
plant at Edgewood Arsenal, the contractors would not have been able to 
operate, for as just indicated, nowhere in industry were there workers with 
the necessary skills. After picked employees of the contractor had learned 
to perform their tasks, they in turn became instructors to other selected 

The training of skilled and semiskilled workers was only one of the 
perplexing matters that the gas mask contractors faced. Like many other 
wartime procurement difficulties, this problem was not confined to a par- 
ticular item or a particular contractor. Another problem was the impact 
on manufacturing operations resulting from changes in production sched- 
ules. The fact that such changes were inherent in the system of wartime 
supply did not lessen the impact. A change in a gas mask schedule made 
it necessary for the contractor to cut back the number of workers on the 
assembly line. These workers were often employed elsewhere in the plant, 
and under company policies they were usually not obliged to return to 
their former jobs. If a demand arose for increased production of gas masks, 
the contractors had to train new workers. The situation became particu- 
larly complicated when a contractor had several contracts on the mask run- 
ning simultaneously. 

Both the CWS and the contractors assembling gas masks had trouble 
procuring components. Under the educational order program the CWS had 

2 Discussion of these problems is based on; (1) Histories of the CWS procurement districts in 
World War II; (2) History of the Johnson and Johnson Gas Mask Factory; (3) Interv, Hist Off 
on 12 Nov 57 with the following World War II gas mask supervisory employees of the Goodyear 
Tire and Rubber Co., Akron, Ohio: H. E. Morse, C S. Davis, Wayne White, and E. Wendt. 



procured components from relatively few contractors, but once full-scale 
production got under way the service had to add many additional sources 
for such noncommercial items as faceblanks, valve parts, canister parts, 
treated charcoal (whetlerite), and eyerings. In many instances the compo- 
nents furnished did not prove satisfactory and the CWS had to station 
inspectors at the plants of all major manufacturers of components. 

Another difficulty in the manufacture of the gas mask resulted from 
slight variations in the faceblank molds of the different mold manufactur- 
ers. Because each mold maker used a slightly different pattern the face- 
blanks also had slightly different patterns and could therefore not be suc- 
cessfully assembled with the same tools. Many faulty assemblies took place 
with resultant delays in production. 3 

The mask which industry began to produce in 1940 was the standard 
Army service mask, M1A2-9A1-4, together with its economically priced 
counterpart, the training mask, M2A1-1-1. In some respects these items 
proved difficult to adapt to assembly line techniques. The MlA2 facepiece 
not only needed careful handwork at such points as its eyering assembly > 
but it also had a potentially vulnerable chin seam, which had to undergo 
an elaborate process of repeated cementing, taping, and baking to meet 
specifications. One contractor, Firestone Rubber and Latex Products Co. of 
Fall River, developed an automatic chin seam vulcanizer to speed the 
work. 4 The ultimate solution to the problem however, was to replace the 
MlA2 faceblank altogether by getting the simpler, seamless, all-rubber 
molded faceblank into production. It took some time and care to produce 
the molds in the needed quantities and within the close tolerances required. 
The first attempts to produce molded faceblanks in quantity for the serv- 
ice masks were undertaken late in 1940. A number of changes in the rubber 
composition and molding techniques had to be worked out before the 
process could be depended upon to turn out the intricately shaped forms 
without having a large percentage unacceptable because of cracks or other 

3 In 1948 the Chemical Corps awarded a contract to Firestone Industrial Products Co., Akron, 
Ohio, to make a study aimed at improving the industrial mobilization plan for the gas mask. In 
compiling data, the Firestone Co. interviewed representatives of the various World War II gas 
mask contractors. Among other things the Firestone report recommended that in the future all 
mold manufacurers should use identical patterns. See Industrial Mobilization Planning Study, Mask, 
Service, Combat, M-5-1 1-7, Chemical Corps Contract W 18-035-CM-834 Phase I, 5 March 1948, 
p. 65. ETF 611.69-2/2. Hereafter referred to as Planning Study, Mask. 

4 (1) History of the Pittsburgh CWPD, Revised 31 July 1945, p. 145. Referred to hereafter as 
History of Pittsburgh CWPD. (2) History of the Boston CWPD in World War II, vol. 9, p. 80. 
Referred to hereafter as History of the Boston CWPD. 



flaws. 5 By June 1941 the fully molded faceblank was ready to replace the 
MlA2 on the assembly lines. 

The transition to mass production by industry brought new ideas as 
well as new problems to the gas mask assembly line. These ideas were 
introduced after some of the methods and devices which through the years 
had met the needs of the small pilot plant at Edgewood Arsenal were 
found inadequate for the demands now made upon them. For example, 
the firms that were turning out training masks (an item which differed 
from the standard service masks principally in its use of a simple cylindri- 
cal canister) soon became dissatisfied with the machine Edgewood Arsenal 
had designed to fill the canisters. They felt that it did not meet the stand- 
ards of current commercial technology, and lost little time in arbitrarily 
replacing it with a more up-to-date filler borrowed from the food canning 
industry. 6 

By December 1941 the mass production of service and training masks 
by industry had been under way for a year. Despite the many problems 
of inexperience and adjustment, well over two million masks had been 
delivered to the Army, and production capacity had already exceeded ten 
thousand masks per day. 7 The nation's entry into active warfare only accel- 
erated the existing program. There was, however, one major change of 
emphasis. The training mask, whose principal virtue lay in the fact that 
it was cheaper than its regular service counterpart, had never been intended 
for use in combat. Training mask production lines were therefore gradually 
shifted to service mask assembly, and by mid- 1942 the training mask had 
been virtually dropped as a production item. 8 

But if one gas mask program was marked for conclusion after war came, 
another was suddenly and vigorously resuscitated. The period of educa- 
tional orders had witnessed a small-scale trial production program for 
noncombatant gas masks. In 1940 the Chemical Warfare Service selected 
five firms, none of them experienced in such items, and contracted to set 
up complete noncombatant mask production lines in each for turning out 
a single educational order of gas masks. On the basis of this experience 

5 History of the Pittsburgh CWPD, pp. 144-45. 

6 (1) Ibid., pp. 159-60, (2) History of the Boston CWPD, vol. 9, p. 39- (3) Interv, Hist Off 
with Col Victor C. Searle, Cml C, 4 Oct 56. 

7 CWS Report of Production, 1 Jan 40 through 31 Dec 45, p. 21. 

8 (1) History of the Boston CWPD, vol. 9, p. 38. (2) History of the Pittsburgh CWPD, p. 
149. (3) Memo, C Ind Svc CWS for USW, 13 May 42, sub: Rpt of Accomplishments of CWS. 
CWS 400.12/106-139. 



the CWS after Pearl Harbor began mass production of civilian masks. For 
once, the service had no difficulty attracting potential producers. Several 
hundred applicants, hearing of a defense item which would be made by a 
comparatively small plant, solicited contracts. The CWS planners reckoned 
that for optimum production efficiency an individual plant should be capa- 
ble of turning out 125,000 masks per month. This led to the conclusion 
that about twenty good sized producers would be preferable to a large 
number of small fabricators, and production contracts were ultimately 
assigned on this basis. Three of the original five educational order con- 
tractors were considered capable of undertaking full-scale production and 
over a dozen additional contractors were obtained to fill out the program. 
The selection was such that each of the six CWS procurement districts 
had two or more suppliers within its jurisdiction. 9 

By midsummer of 1942 the full-scale production program for noncom- 
batant masks was under way. From the outset there were difficulties. The 
CWS, as a result of experience gained in educational order production, 
was convinced that the fabric facepieces needed a coating of natural rub- 
ber in preference to synthetic plastics if they were to have a firm, leakproof 
fit. 10 This requirement at once ran up against the sudden crisis in the na- 
tion's rubber supply, and though a limited amount of rubber was at last 
made available for the program, the CWS and its customer, the Office of 
Civilian Defense, had to accept a production ceiling of 8,500,000 masks. 
On the production line itself, shortages of materials and components ham- 
pered scheduling. The outlet valve case proved a particularly troublesome 
bottleneck until the molds needed to make it could be hurried to com- 
pletion. 11 Despite difficulties the program reached its assigned goal approxi- 
mately on schedule. In 1943 production of noncombatant gas masks came 
to a halt, and thereafter about half the production lines were maintained 
on a standby basis. 

During 1942 the program for service gas masks was vigorously carried 
forward to meet the demands of the rapidly increasing Army. Since the 
service mask formed part of every soldier's equipment, the rate at which 

9 (1) Summary of Conference, OC CWS, 13 Mar 42, re Noncombatant Gas Mask Assembly 
Plants. (2) Maj R. D. Ball, Gas Masks, p. 39. Both in CWS 314.7 Gas Masks File. 

10 (1) History of the Boston CWPD, vol. 9, p. 23. (2) Interv, Hist Off with G. H. Titcomb, 
7 Nov 56. Titcomb served as both civilian and officer in several protective equipment assignments, 
including Chief, Protective Equipment Section, Industrial Division, OC CWS. 

11 (1) History of the Boston CWPD, vol. 9, p. 28. (2) History of the Dallas CWPD, February 
1942-June 1944, pp. 73, 75-77. (3) Memo, C Ind Service CWS for USW, 6 May 42, sub; Rpt of 
Accomplishments of CWS. CWS 400.12/106-139. 



the mobilization of military manpower was proceeding required full use of 
all available production facilities. To those already at work on the service 
mask the CWS added a new end item assembler by converting Sprague 
Specialities Co. of North Adams, Mass., from a training mask line to the 
more urgently needed service mask. In 1943 the west coast was brought 
into the program when the San Francisco district set up service mask pro- 
duction at the plant of the Simmons Co. That same year the Dallas district 
began contracting with B. F. Goodrich Co. for production of the service 
mask in Clarksville, Tenn. By November 1943 service mask production 
had reached its peak rate, nearly a million a month, as compared with a 
prewar monthly rate averaging about two hundred thousand. 12 

The service mask that was being turned out at the end of 1943 was 
the new lightweight model, the M3-10-6, which had been developed in 
1942. The first essay at putting the new mask into production was en- 
trusted to the Pittsburgh district's end-item contractor, the Goodyear Tire 
and Rubber Co. of Akron, Ohio, which set up a pilot line for it in Janu- 
ary 1943, without interrupting its regular production. The contract called 
for an initial production of 150,000 lightweight masks, but barely a tenth 
of that number had been assembled when the program was temporarily 
halted. So many practical difficulties had arisen in meeting the original 
specifications that these had to be altered somewhat before production could 
continue. Among the trouble spots singled out for special notice were the 
canister assembly and filling operations, the crimping of eyerings in the 
M3 facepiece assembly, and the sewing of the M6 carrier. The carrier turned 
out to be the main bottleneck, and the district ultimately had to call a 
conference of the CWS officers stationed at the plants of the carrier con- 
tractors before a standard design meeting both CWS requirements and 
production needs could be worked out. But by the end of May 1943 product 
engineering had advanced to a point where the CWS was able to negoti- 
ate full-scale production contracts with Goodyear and its other prime con- 
tractors. By August the new mask, with its nosecup, 18-inch hosepiece, 
cylindrical canister, and carrier, had replaced the old on all existing pro- 
duction lines and was being turned out by the new facilities at San 
Francisco and Clarksville as well. 13 

12 (1) History of the Boston CWPD, vol. 9, p. 65. (2) History of the San Francisco CWPD 
in World War II, pp. 71-72. (3) History of the Dallas CWPD, February 1942-June 1944, p. 74. 
(4) CWS Report of Production, 1 Jan 40 through 31 Dec 45. 

13 (1) History of the Pittsburgh CWPD, pp. 161-68. (2) CWS Report of Production, 1 Jan 40 
through 31 Dec 45. 



Though Goodyear's pilot plant experience had served to correct some 
major difficulties, problems still remained at the assembly line level. The 
principal distinctive feature of the new facepiece was its nosecup, almost 
a mask within a mask, which had to be carefully vulcanized into place, 
simpler methods of attachment having proved impractical. 14 This process 
was speeded up after Firestone Rubber and Latex Products Co., one of 
the end-item contractors in the Boston district, developed and put into 
use a machine that vulcanized the nosecups to the facepieces automati- 
cally. A large surplus stock of old style 27-inch hosepieces ceased to be a 
problem when the contractors successfully demonstrated that a satisfactory 
18-inch hosepiece could be fashioned from two 9-inch remnants, thereby 
making every two old style hosepieces a potential source of three light- 
weight pieces. 15 The problem of handling the recently developed whetler- 
ite on the canister line called for some new techniques and a good deal 
of care to prevent overexposure of the impregnated charcoal to the atmos- 
phere. 16 

The Pittsburgh district bore most of the burden of keeping the gas 
mask program supplied with charcoal. Early production contracts were for 
nutshell and wood charcoals. The major source at this stage was the 
Barnebey-Cheney Engineering Co. of Columbus, Ohio, a pioneer in the 
field, which operated not only charcoal activating kilns but also a Zanes- 
ville, Ohio, plant where charcoal was converted to whetlerite. A CWS 
contractor-operated plant in Fostoria, Ohio, used a zinc chloride process 
to produce a wood charcoal which met standards at first, but which later 
proved comparatively expensive and unsuited to the manufacture of the 
ASC form of whetlerite in use by 1943. In that year the Pittsburgh Coke 
and Chemical Co. opened up a new domestic source, bituminous coal, for 
the mass production of whetlerite. After the company had demonstrated 
the practicability of making charcoal from bituminous coal, the govern- 
ment built two charcoal plants for the Pittsburgh company. 17 A little later, 
the CWS acquired the plant at Zanesville for the Pittsburgh Coke and 
Chemical Co. to operate. The elaborate test procedures required for the 
effective inspection of ASC whetlerite led the Pittsburgh district's chief 

14 History of the Pittsburgh CWPD, p. 168. 

15 (1) History of the Boston CWPD, vol. 9, pp. 66, 78. (2) History of the Chicago CWFD, 
1 July 1940 through 31 December 1944, vol. 1, p. 57. 

18 History of the Pittsburgh CWPD, p. 165. 

17 Interv, Hist Off with R. C. Moore, 14 Nov 57. Mr. Moore was in charge of Pittsburgh Coke 
& Chemical Co.'s charcoal program in World War II. 



inspection officer to urge that the CWS set up a central testing laboratory 
in the Pittsburgh area. The service adopted the suggestion, and by mid- 
February of 1944 a central laboratory was in operation at Carnegie, Pa., 
near the contractor's plant, and beginning the process of taking over the 
major responsibility for whetlerite inspection. 18 

The Rubber Crisis 

The most difficult problem confronting the gas mask program was the 
critical wartime shortage of its principal ingredient, crude rubber, as noted 
earlier. In peace or war the United States had to have an annual rubber 
supply running to upward of half a million long tons just to keep its 
rubber tired vehicles operating. The source of nearly all the crude rubber 
used in America was the plantations of Southeast Asia. The onset of a 
Pacific war, followed within weeks by the loss of most of the rubber regions 
to the enemy, left the United States facing a major emergency in rubber 
supply by the spring of 1942. The government quickly imposed rigid limi- 
tations on the use of the country's existing rubber stockpiles, while a tre- 
mendous new production program for synthetic rubbers was rushed into 

Despite the fact that the Chemical Warfare Service for the time being 
had a large enough share of the overall military allotment of rubber to 
continue its service mask programs as planned, the post-Pearl Harbor pro- 
curement of noncombatant gas masks was in trouble from the outset. The 
item, being specifically nonmilitary, had no proper claim on military allo- 
cations of strategic materials. Moreover, civilian authority as represented 
by the newly organized War Production Board (WPB) tended to dis- 
courage the issuance of rubber allotments for the mask. Concern over the 
immediate and dangerous rubber emergency outweighed concern over a 
hypothetical gas attack on continental United States. The expressed inten- 
tion of CWS officers to aim for a total program of fifty million noncom- 
batant masks, involving the probable expenditure of some ten thousand 
tons of rubber, met with opposition firm enough to force a compromise. 
The WPB agreed to supply 1,360 tons of reclaimed rubber, sufficient for 
five million noncombatant masks for domestic use plus an additional three 
and a half million destined for Australia. Officials of WPB hoped that the 
CWS would soon be able to standardize a noncombatant facepiece using 

18 History of the Pittsburgh CWPD, pp. 178-92. 



some substitute plastic as a fabric coating. Though work on such a prod- 
uct was being carried on it had not yet produced a facepiece meeting the 
requirements. 19 When later in 1942 it developed that the original alloca- 
tion would not be large enough to complete the masks on order, WPB 
reluctantly granted an additional allocation of 750 tons of reclaimed rub- 
ber, over the objections of its own Office of Civilian Supply. 20 

Notwithstanding that by 1943 the rapidly increasing output of synthe- 
tic rubbers was beginning to have its effect on the rubber emergency, the 
stock of natural rubber continued to dwindle. By the spring of that year 
it was becoming plain that mass production of the natural rubber service 
mask could not go on indefinitely. The CWS had already improvised meas- 
ures to stretch its rubber allocation for the time being, first by reducing 
the percentage of latex in the prescribed compound and then by author- 
izing increased use of reclaimed rubber. But a change to an all-synthetic 
mask was fast becoming a necessity. 

The Office of the Rubber Director, WPB, brought matters to a head 
early in June 1943 by setting up a committee, representing gas mask pro- 
ducers, the CWS, the Navy, and the WPB, to plan the change-over. The 
committee, under the chairmanship of J. J. Allen of the Firestone Rubber 
and Latex Products Co., met monthly beginning in June. Though the CWS 
was doing most of the necessary development work through its laboratory 
at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a great deal of technical infor- 
mation on mixing and handling compounds based on synthetics was 
exchanged through the committee by the industry representatives. It was 
the general conviction that butyl rubber was the synthetic that would be 
best for the purpose, and throughout the summer the planning and experi- 
mentation was based on this conclusion. Planners expected a butyl service 
mask to be in production by early fall. Then in September they realized 
that the expected output of butyl rubber could not be counted upon, and 
they quickly decided to proceed with the conversion plans using neoprene 
instead. In October the CWS placed educational orders for pilot lots of 

19 (1) Memo, W. Allen for C Rubber Branch, WPB, 6 Feb 42, sub: Gas Masks for Civilian 
Defense. (2) Memo, W. Helburn for C Rubber Branch WPB, 25 Mar 42. (3) Ltr, Brig Gen Paul 
X. English to C Rubber Branch WPB, 26 Mar 42, sub: Rubber for Non-Combatant Gas Masks. 
(4) Memo, C Rubber Branch WPB for Brig Gen English, 27 Mar 42, sub: Reclaimed Rubber for 
Non-Combatant Gas Masks. All in WPB 572.4. (5) Titcomb interv, 7 Nov 56. 

20 (1) Memo, E.J. Casey, 4 Nov 42, sub: Face Pieces for O.C.D. Gas Masks. WPB 577.0413. 
(2) Memo, Asst Deputy Rubber Director, WPB for C CWS, 3 Nov 42, sub: Reclaimed Rubber 
for Noncombatant Gas Masks. ( 3 ) Memo, C Rubber Sec Off of Civilian Supply for C Appeals Bd, 
17 Nov 42, sub: Additional Allocation ... for ... Gas Masks. Both in WPB 571.14. 



synthetic components (faceblanks, hose tubes, and nosecups) with its prin- 
cipal contractors, and on 1 November the Rubber Director's order limiting 
gas masks to 50 percent crude rubber in November and none subsequently 
became effective. 21 

For more than a year thereafter the Army's standard service masks— 
both the M3 lightweight mask standardized earlier and its shortlived suc- 
cessor, the M5 combat mask— were made of neoprene. As in the case of 
any major change in specifications, there was an occasional hitch on the 
production lines. Some of these hitches were caused by the fact that batches 
of neoprene compound were not always uniform. 22 A more critical prob- 
lem arose when one contractor attempted to produce faceblanks for the 
complicated optical gas mask from neoprene. The neoprene stock refused 
to take molding acceptably, and nearly all the first batch of one thousand 
faceblanks failed to pass inspection. The contract had to be terminated. 23 
But with these exceptions, production of neoprene masks proceeded 
smoothly enough. 

Not until the neoprene masks had reached the troops in the European 
Theater of Operations and experienced cold weather— that is, not until 
the winter of 1944-45— were the shortcomings of neoprene fully appreci- 
ated. The "black rubber" masks, as they were called, were likely to stiffen 
into deformed shapes at low temperatures, making it impossible to obtain 
a gastight fit. The theater let it be known that it wanted no more of them. 
This tendency of neoprene to develop "cold set" was not unknown in 1943. 
According to a WPB historian the output of neoprene had been reduced 
in the spring of 1943 because its unreliability at low temperatures limited 
its usefulness. 24 The Gas Mask Industry Technical Committee, which had 
co-ordinated the work leading to the adoption of neoprene, had been aware 
of the difficulty. The committee, when considering formulas the contrac- 
tors were preparing to use, had apparently left approval of the neoprene 

21 (1) Minutes of Third Meeting of Gas Mask Industry Technical Committee, 17 Aug 43. (2) 
Memo, S. P. Thacher, Rubber Branch ASF for C CWS, 25 Aug 43, sub: Development of Synthetic 
Rubber Gas Masks. (3) Ltr, J. J. Allen to Capt F. G. Reinke, Rubber Branch ASF, 18 Oct 43, 
All in ASF 470.72. (4) Memo, S. P. Thacher for Rubber Director WPB, 2 Oct 43, sub: Proposed 
Directive Eliminating Crude Rubber ... in Gas Masks. (5) Memo, S. P. Thacher for Chiefs 
of Technical Services, 13 Oct 43, sub: Proposed Directive . . . Both in ASF 423. 

22 History of the Pittsburgh CWPD, p. 171. 

23 History of the Boston CWPD, vol. 9, pp. 176-77. 

24 Civilian Production Administration, Industrial Mobilization for War: History of the War 
Production Board and Predecessor Agencies, 1940-45, vol. II ch. V, p. 94. Unfinished typescript 
draft in WPB Policy Files. 



compounds to the CWS Laboratory at Massachusetts Institute of Tech- 
nology. 25 

The Latter War Years 

At the time the shift to synthetics was made, the production rate for 
gas masks was just passing its wartime peak. With the completion of the 
Army expansion program, there was a leveling-off in gas mask require- 
ments. By February 1944 the cutbacks in scheduled production were exten- 
sive enough to justify a substantial reduction in assembly facilities. Accord- 
ingly, Goodyear was dropped from the program that month, and Sprague 
Specialities of North Adams, Mass., ceased production when their current 
contract was completed in April. 26 

The cutback coincided with the start of production on a new service 
mask, the M5-11-7 combat (or assault) mask. The CWS meant to ulti- 
mately replace this new item, a hoseless mask with a cheek mounted axial- 
flow canister and a new waterproof carrier, but at the outset scheduled 
only limited production with a single assembler, Firestone of Fall River. 
The principal production difficulties were in the assembly of components. 
New seaming and filling machines had to be installed for the Mil canister, 
an item radically different from the radial-flow canisters that had preceded 
it. The filters took the form of elaborately pleated shells of specially treated 
absorbent paper. Although a comparatively simple shell pattern was avail- 
able, the CWS had also developed a pattern involving concentric pleats 
and wanted comparative field reports on the two types. Consequently, both 
types were produced. The concentric filter was considerably more trouble- 
some to assemble. The M7 carrier, a complex item made of butyl coated 
duck, was a source of trouble from the start. The specifications, especially 
those for the waterproof closure, were such as to make for an inherently 
awkward assembly job. 27 

The Dallas district brought its principal gas mask contractor, the B. F. 
Goodrich plant at Clarksville, Tenn., into the combat mask program in 
September 1944, but the program itself was nearing a sudden end. Though 
the problem raised by the assemblers of canisters and carriers were not un- 
usual, the difficulties which the combat facepiece itself presented were 

25 Ltr, J. J. Allen to Capt F. G. Reinke, Rubber Branch ASF, 18 Oct 43. ASF 470.72. 
2G (1) History of the Pittsburgh CWPD, pp. 163-64. (2) History of the Boston CWPD, vol. 
9, p. 68. 

27 (1) History of the Boston CWPD, vol. 9> pp. 121-36. (2) Interv, Hist Off with G. H. Tit- 
comb and E. S. Graves, 7 Nov 56. 



another matter. The attempts to convert faceblank molds to M5 produc- 
tion had not been successful, and the faceblanks themselves had so high 
a rejection rate that by the end of August the CWS was ready to admit 
that continued production of the M5 was not worth the trouble. The 
contracts were terminated accordingly, with the M3-10A1-6 resuming its 
status as the standard service mask. 28 

The M3 was not the only service mask in production at the end of 1944. 
A salvage and reconditioning program of steadily increasing proportions 
had brought into being the lightweight service mask M4-10A1-6, which 
was manufactured by adding the nosecup, hose tube, canister, and carrier 
of a lightweight mask to a reconditioned M2A2 rubber facepiece. The M4 
had been developed and approved late in 1942 as a stopgap item to be 
turned out while the production difficulties of the new M3 were being 
remedied. 29 It was not produced in any substantial quantity, despite the 
original plan, until the beginning of 1944. From then on it ranked as an 
important factor in the nation's gas mask output, and several major con- 
tractors were kept busy dismantling used heavy service and training masks 
so that the M4 assembly lines could be kept supplied. 

The reconditioning program assumed a new importance in January 1945, 
after the using arms had declared the neoprene facepiece unsatisfactory 
From then onward the CWS mask program depended on the output of 
natural rubber facepieces from the reconditioners. By the summer of 1945 
an elaborate process was under way of recalling neoprene masks from over- 
seas, exchanging them for rubber masks in use in the zone of interior, 
and shipping the latter in turn to the reconditioning plants for ultimate 
use overseas. The reconditioning program also played a part in supplying 
a substitute for the hoseless M5 combat mask withdrawn from production 
in 1944. In the summer of 1945 the gas mask industry began turning out 
the M3-11-10 snout-type mask, in which the assault-type" Mil canister 
was attached directly to the front of a reconditioned rubber facepiece. Over 
300,000 of these masks were produced before V-J Day halted the assem- 
bly lines. 30 The M8 snout-type mask was the last of the series of masks 
produced during the war for general issue to troops. 

26 (1) History of the Dallas CWPD, 1 Jul 44-14 Aug 45, p. 31. (2) Minutes of Weekly 
Meeting, Office of Assistant Chief, CWS, for Materiel, 31 Aug 44. CWS 314.7 Gas Masks File. 

2e CWTC Item 1339, 24 May 45, Standardization of Facepieces, Service, M4 and M4A1. 

30 (1) Ltr, TAG to CG's of Service Commands, MDW,andCCWS, 11 Apr 45, sub; Survey of 
Gas Masks in Service Command Posts, Camps, and Stations in the Continental United States. (2) 
Memo, Dir Requirements and Stock Control Div ASF for ASF Directors, 17 Jul 45, sub: Supply 
Control of Gas Masks. Both in ASF 470.72. (3) Weekly Report of Activities, OC, CWS, week 
ending 20 Jul 45. (4) History of the Boston CWPD, vol. 9, pp. 152-59. 



Special Purpose Masks 

The production history of the gas mask program would not be com- 
plete without reference to the special purpose masks manufactured by the 
CWS or its contractors between 1940 and 1945. In terms of magnitude, 
the most important of these special programs was the one for the diaphragm 
mask. Although this item was never entirely satisfactory, the CWS hoped 
that eventually a greatly improved diaphragm mask would come off the 
assembly line. Plans in May 1942 called for supplying the Army with five 
million or more of these masks. 31 A program of this size obviously re- 
quired the participation of industry. Edgewood Arsenal alone produced two 
million diaphragm masks in the two years between February 1941 and 
March 1943. By the latter date plans for industrial production were com- 
plete, and the first diaphragm masks to be turned out by private contrac- 
tors were accepted in April 1943. 32 But by June this type of mask was 
rejected by the using arms and production was stopped. 33 

The program for the optical mask was less ambitious. Edgewood Ar- 
senal turned out about 116,000 in mid-1941, and no further production 
was undertaken for three years. Then in 1944, in response to an ASF de- 
mand, the CWS undertook to produce another ninety thousand though it 
had not yet completed development of the item. The development labora- 
tory provided a master form for the facepiece, and the rubber blanks were 
manufactured by the Sun Rubber Co. of Barberton, Ohio, after an attempt 
by the Acushnet Process Co. of New Bedford had demonstrated that neo- 
prene would not meet requirements. The masks were assembled by a Chi- 
cago district contractor, Eureka Vacuum Cleaner Co. of Detroit. 34 An 
optical mask developed and requisitioned by the Navy was produced on 
short notice in 1943-44 by the New York district, despite the fact that 
the district had not shared in the CWS gas mask program except for its 
part in the nationwide procurement of noncombatant masks. 35 

Procurement of such other special purpose masks as were not turned 
out solely by the CWS pilot plant at Edgewood Arsenal was generally 
accomplished through the Boston Procurement District. The headwound 
mask was produced in the district for a short time in 1944-45, with the 
Firestone Co. of Fall River making the final assembly. Facepieces for col- 

31 WD SOS Army Supply Program, Monthly Status Report CWS Equipment Section, No. 4, 
May 1942. 

32 CWS Report of Production, 1 Jan 40 through 31 Dec 45. 

33 History of the Boston CWPD, vol. 9, P- 118. 

34 History of the Pittsburgh CWPD, pp. 175-77. 

35 History of the New York CWPD from 1940 through June 1944, vol. 1, pp. 225-50. 



lective protectors were also procured in 1944-45, the prime contractor being 
the Electrolux Co. of Old Greenwich, Conn. This company, which had 
taken part in the development of the item, continued to assemble face- 
pieces until the war ended. 36 

Inspection of Gas Masks 

At the start of the war the CWS had compiled very little literature to 
assist its inspectors in carrying out their day-to-day operations. To fill this 
need the Inspection Division, OC CWS, inaugurated the practice of writ- 
ing a Standard Inspection Procedure (SIP) for each CW end item. The 
SIP described the item and its use, how it was made, and how it func- 
tioned. It went on to specify the parts of the item to be inspected, the 
tools or instruments to be used in carrying out the inspection, and it fi- 
nally outlined such matters as proof testing, surveillance procedures, and 
packaging. The bulk of the SIP's on the CW items were prepared and 
circulated by the summer of 1944. 37 

The SIP on the gas mask which the Inspection Division wrote in 1943 
called for end-item inspection by the government of each lot of masks 
coming off the assembly line. If the CWS inspector rejected a lot the con- 
tractor's inspectors had to recheck each mask in that lot. All defective masks 
then had to be reworked. Later the CWS modified this procedure by hav- 
ing its inspectors check the masks as they were moving along on the con- 
veyor line, and if the CWS inspector rejected a certain number, the 
contractor's inspectors reinspected all the masks remaining on the line. 
Meanwhile the contractor held up all production until the particular de- 
fect was eliminated. The latter system proved more satisfactory than the 
former because it prevented the incorporation of undesirable features into 
the mask. 

After World War II the contractors who had assembled gas masks dur- 
ing the war almost invariably complained of the CWS system of inspec- 
tion. Their complaints came under two headings: first, that the inspectors 
by and large were inadequately trained, and secondly, that the 1943 SIP 
was impractical for purposes of quantity, and simultaneously quality, pro- 
duction of gas masks. 38 While many gas mask inspectors were doubtless 
deficient in background and insufficiently trained, this complaint was per- 
haps too sweeping. The condition was partially the result of the tight labor 

56 History of the Boston CWPD, vol. 9, pp. 160-65, 179-86. 

3T Annual Report of Inspection Division, OC CWS, for Fiscal Year 1944. 

38 Planning Study, Mask, Phase I, pp. 87-90, and vol. Vfl, p. 124. ETF 611.69-2/2. 



market existing at that time. The second complaint would also seem to 
have a basis in fact. When the government took the position that there 
should be a 100 percent of inspection of certain munitions— and such in- 
sistence was unquestionably legitimate— it could not at the same time 
consistently place primary emphasis on mass production of the item. It 
was mass production, plus haste in designing masks and components, that 
was at the root of the difficulty. The fact that there were many minor 
discrepancies in specifications and acceptance standards for components from 
different suppliers tended to produce rejections of finished masks for causes 
beyond the control of the end-item assembler. 

Production of Impregnite ( CC-2 ) 

The plant for producing the impregnite CC-2 which the CWS built 
at Edgewood Arsenal in the 1930's began to operate on a production basis 
in October 1940. Among the plants it erected at Edgewood in the emer- 
gency period, the CWS included a new impregnite plant utilizing a new 
process of manufacture. This plant got into production early in 1942. The 
two Edgewood plants continued to operate until the start of 1943- Mean- 
while, the plant at Niagara Falls got into operation in the fall of 1941 
and in early 1942 the plants at St. Louis and Midland. 39 

A number of manufacturing difficulties soon presented themselves. At 
the Niagara Falls plant, corrosion of equipment by the highly reactive ma- 
terials used in the process became a major problem, so much so that Du 
Pont made it the subject of an extended research project during 1942. 
Early production yields were disappointingly small when measured against 
the yields known to be available. Furthermore, the quality of the product 
left much to be desired. Batch after batch failed to meet specifications and 
had to be washed free of impurities if not reprocessed altogether. By 
March 1942, when the Du Pont plant had been over five months in op- 
eration without a substantial advance in yield or quality, the CWS was 
voicing concern. 40 Production ills were meanwhile besetting the Midland 
and St. Louis plants, operated by Dow Chemical Co. and Monsanto Chem- 
ical Co., respectively. But in the months that followed, the results of ac- 
cumulating experience and production research began to tell. By the late 

39 (1) CWS Report of Production, 1 Jan 40 through 31 Dec 45, p. 18. (2) History of Edge - 
wood Arsenal in World War II, vol. II, pp. 5 56-57. (3) History of Niagara Falls CWS Plant, 
p. 1. (4) Pamphlet, "Performance Record of the Dow Chemical Company in the War Effort/' 
9 Jan 45 (Historical Account), p. 30. 

41) (1) Niagara Falls CWS Plant Reports, Sep 4l-Mar 42, Incls to Historical Material. (2) 
Notes of conference held by General Porter, 13 Mar 42. CWS 337. 



autumn of 1942 the plants were approximating their rated capacity of five 
tons per day apiece, and the worst difficulties were past. In 1943 the rated 
capacity was substantially exceeded by actual production of specification- 
grade material. 41 

In the impregnating process CC-2 was dissolved in acetylene tetrachlo- 
ride, a highly toxic solvent. Since the use of such a solvent was both dif- 
ficult and dangerous, officials placed a requirement for a water soluble 
impregnite. Technicians met this need by reducing the individual particle 
size in CC-2 to micron proportions. Production of micronized CC-2, re- 
designated XX-CC3, began in the spring of 1943 after the installation of 
micronizing equipment in the plants. During the next eighteen months 
the greater part of the CC-2 turned out was converted at the plant to 
XX-CC3. At the beginning of 1944 the impregnite plants were deliver- 
ing 700 tons of impregnite a month to the CWS. 42 With the peak pe- 
riod of military build-up already past, the CWS had to plan early cutbacks 
in output. In March 1944 the ASF authorized the CWS to place the Mid- 
land plant on standby status and to reduce production in the remaining 
two plants. By May impregnite production was accordingly down to a level 
approximating 250 tons per month. Micronizing operations were halted 
entirely by the CWS after October 1944, but CC-2 production was in- 
creased somewhat in the early months of 1945. Production continued until 
hostilities ended. From first to last, over 18,000 tons of impregnite were 
produced for the CWS between 1940 and 1945. 43 

Procurement of Impregnating Plants 

As important as the development of the protective clothing was the 
problem of maintaining a global supply of the item against the threat of 
gas warfare. Large stores of protective clothing had to be kept in readi- 
ness in all theaters of war and maintained in effective condition. Since the 
protective capacity of CC-2 in clothing gradually diminished with long 
storage and deteriorated even more rapidly when the clothing was in use, 
a kit had to be developed to assess the CC-2 content of protective cloth- 
ing. 44 Rapid resupply of storage stocks which might be called for issue 

41 (1) Niagara Falls CWS Plant Reports, Nov 42-Nov 43, Incls to Historical Material. (2) 
"Performance Record of the Dow Chemical Company/' p. 31. (3) History of the St. Louis CWS 
Plant, p. 2. 

42 (1) Niagara Falls CWS Plant Reports, Apr-Nov 43, Incls to Historical Material. (2) CWS 
Report of Production, 1 Jan 40 through 31 Dec 45. 

43 (1) Memo, Maj Gen Lucius D. Clay to USW, 25 Mar 44, sub; Request for Approval of 
Cutback in Production of Impregnite "1." Files of Dir Materiel ASF. (2) CWS Report of Produc- 
tion, 1 Jan 40 through 31 Dec 45. 

*4 CWTC Item 690, Standardization of Kit, Testing Impregnite in Clothing, Ml, 23 Apr 43. 



on very short notice demanded the installation of impregnating facilities 
at storage points both at home and abroad. With the outbreak of gas 
warfare, vast quantities of contaminated clothing would have to be de- 
contaminated and laundered, with consequent diminution of its CC-2 con- 
tent. This potential need made it imperative that large-scale semifixed 
plants be developed and installed near resupply points. 

Three types of impregnating plants, based on American Laundry Ma- 
chine Co. models, were developed and standardized by 1943: (1) The Ml 
plant (zone of interior), a fixed type with a capacity of 9,000 units of cloth- 
ing each 24 hours; (2) the Ml plant (theater of operations); and (3) the 
M2 plant (theater of operations), which was a semifixed type with a ca- 
pacity of almost 4,000 pounds per 24-hour day or 13,300 sets of clothing 
weekly. Both of the Ml plants were designed for the standard solvent 
process of impregnation in which CC-2 and chlorinated paraffin as a binder 
were dissolved in acetylene tetrachloride, applied to the clothing by uni- 
form saturation, and the solvent then evaporated. 45 

The size and weight of Ml impregnating equipment presented difficul- 
ties in zone of interior installations, and in theater of operations plants 
gave rise to major problems. Theater plant equipment included two 400- 
gallon solution tanks; three modified laundry washing machines, two with 
solvent recovery units; a modified laundry washing machine, called the 
impregnator; a steam generating unit; an electric generating unit; and vari- 
ous auxiliary items such as fuel tanks, pumps, and tools. Depending upon 
the model the packed plant weighed from 80,000 to 105,000 pounds and 
was approximately 6,000 cubic feet in volume. Thirteen vehicles were re- 
quired for its transportation. Skid mountings and special packings were 
developed to facilitate handling. 46 

Each zone of interior Ml plant cost $358,000 and each theater of op- 
erations Ml plant approximately $79,000. 47 A total of thirty-four Ml the- 
ater of operations plants was procured in 1942 and 1943 from the American 
Laundry Machinery Co. and Proctor and Schwartz, Inc., under the super- 

4f> (1) CWTC Item 344, Standardization of Impregnating Plant (T of O), 27 May 41. (2) 
CWTC Item 761, Standardization of Plant, Impregnating (Z of I), Ml, 23 Jul 43. (3) Ltr, Clar- 
ence E. Trotter, Manager, Special Projects, American Laundry Co. to Hist Off, 25 Apr 58. With 
this letter is an inclosure signed by Russell A. Hetzer, Chief Engineer, who worked on the impreg- 
nating plant program in World War II. CWS 314.7 Impregnating Plants File. 

™ TM 3-270, 4 Feb 44. 

47 Draft table, Dollar Volume of CWS Procurement, Protective Material, in folder, Unit and 
Dollar Summaries, Protective Storage and Issue, 1 Jul 40-31 Dec 45. CWS 314.7 Procurement 
Statistics File. 



vision of Edgewood Arsenal and the New York procurement district. Two 
Ml zone of interior plants were procured. 48 

The M2 plant used a water suspension method, developed in 1942 by 
a group under Dr. P. L. Salzberg at the Du Pont chemistry laboratories, 
involving micronized CC-2, chlorinated paraffin, and suspension and dis- 
persing agents. This process, through the elimination of the toxic solvent, 
was simpler, safer, and more economical than the solvent process and was 
standardized for both the Army and Navy in mid-1943. 49 

Although clothing treated by the new aqueous method proved highly 
satisfactory when worn in temperate climates, in the tropics the clothing 
caused excessive skin irritation to troops wearing it for long periods of 
time. The hazard was traced to the zinc oxide stabilizer that had been in- 
corporated in both the solvent and suspension processes by the Du Pont 
group to prevent deterioration of impregnated cotton clothing in storage 
in the tropics. The CWS withheld issue of the M2 plant from Pacific the- 
aters until researchers found that replacing the stabilizing agent zinc oxide 
with calcium carbonate eliminated the hazard without affecting the stor- 
age life of the clothing. 50 

The M2 plant was less complicated than the Ml and was considerably 
less expensive to procure, the cost being about $47,000 per plant. 51 The 
packed plant weighed from 10,000 to 30,000 pounds less than the Ml, 
but the volume was 500 cubic feet greater principally because of the addi- 
tion of a large but lightweight solution mixing unit. The M2, like the 
Ml, required a firm foundation of timbers or concrete and a weatherproofed 
shelter. 52 In 1942 Edgewood Arsenal produced one M2 plant and in the 
following year the CWS procured ninety-four additional M2*s from the 
American Laundry Machinery Co. 53 

The major portion of these M2 plants replaced Mi's or provided initial 
equipment for the thirty-nine processing companies activated between 1941 
and 1945. All but one of these companies saw service overseas. 54 In the 
absence of gas warfare, the companies were given secondary missions, in 

J * CWS Report of Production, 1 Jan 40 through 31 Dec 45, p. 25. 

™ (1) CWTC Item 756, Standardization of Plant, Impregnating, M2, 23 Jul 43. (2) Chemical 
Warfare Board Project No. 289, Field Test of Plant, Impregnating, Ml, 20 May 43. (3) Noyes, 
Chemistry, pp. 206-07. 

50 CWTC Item 1246, Issue of Plant, Impregnating, M2, 26 Oct 44. 

51 Draft table, Dollar Volume of CWS Procurement. 
32 TM 3-281, 10 Feb 54. 

53 CWS Report of Production, 1 Jan 40 through 31 Dec 45, p. 25. 
*' 14 See Brophy and Fisher, \Urgantztng for War, app. H-ll.| 



addition to their primary function of maintaining theater stocks of im- 
pregnated clothing, of providing dry cleaning (the Ml plant) and laun- 
dry services to troops in the field. Once a suitable water supply was lo- 
cated the equipment was easily adapted to these tasks. In the tropics and 
semitropics the equipment was put to good use in impregnating clothing 
with insecticides as a preventative for scrub typhus and malaria. 55 

To provide advance company units in the field with means for im- 
pregnating clothing in an emergency, Dr. Salzberg's group developed a 
small field set weighing 52 pounds, capable of processing 24 suits of cloth- 
ing. 56 Finally, a helmet impregnating set, to be carried in the pack or gas 
mask carrier and weighing less than half a pound, was experimented with 
to permit the individual soldier to impregnate his uniform, shorts, and 
socks, using his helmet and water from his canteen. A later requirement 
for a highly mobile unit capable of handling 1,400 pounds of clothing 
(approximately 200 suits) each 24 hours was relinquished when it was 
found that the Quartermaster mobile laundry units in the field could be 
adapted, by means of a special kit, as temporary water-suspension impreg- 
nating plants. 57 

Next to the gas mask, protective clothing was the soldier's most im- 
portant defense against gas warfare and every individual moving overseas 
received a complete issue. In the theater of operations this individual is- 
sue was maintained either in the hands of the soldier or in readily avail- 
able supply locations. In addition, theater reserves were stocked in the 
early part of the war on a 100 percent reissue basis and later in the war 
on a descending scale according to the vulnerability of each area to the 
initiation of gas warfare. .Protective clothing was actually worn in opera- 
tions in which the enemy's initiation of gas warfare appeared possible, 
such as the Normandy invasion. 58 

Protective Ointment 59 
The CWS awarded a development contract on protective ointment, the 
antigas decontaminant for use on the soldier's body and personal weapons, 

55 See Pritchard, Kleber, and Birdsell, Ichemical s in Combat. I 

56 CWTC Item 766, Standardization of Set, Impregnating, Field, Ml, 23 Jul 43. 

57 ( 1 ) Chemical Warfare Board Project No. 298, Test of Mobile Water Suspension Impregnat- 
ing Plant, 31 Aug 43. (2) CWTC Item 863, Military Requirements and Military Characteristics 
for a Mobile Impregnating Unit, 3 Dec 43. (3) CWTC Item 993, Military Requirement and Mili- 
tary Characteristics for a Kit for Conversion of Mobile Laundry Units for Impregnation, 5 May 44. 
See also Item 1090. 7 Jul 44, same title. 

58 See Brophy and Fisher, Orga nizing for War, ch. IV,] and Pritchard, Kleber, and Birdsell, 
|Chemicals in Combat] 

59 Unless otherwise indicated, this section' is based on the following: (1) Wallace and Tiernan 



to Wallace and Tiernan Products, Inc., in February 1941. 60 Under that 
contract the company produced Ml and M2 ointment on a pilot plant 
basis until September when it suspended production in order to put the 
knowledge and experience gained into practice. Wallace and Tiernan set 
up a manufacturing plant for Ml ointment in one of its buildings in Belle- 
ville, N.J., and this plant was operating in December 1941. In the fall of 
1941, meanwhile, the CWS awarded a research contract to Evans Chemet- 
ics, Inc., of New York City. This was followed by a production contract 
in January 1942. To manufacture the ointment Evans Chemetics built a 
plant in Hobokcn, NJ. 

The Ml was unlike any ointment that had ever been produced com- 
mercially. One of its chief ingredients was chlorine, which reacts adversely 
on ordinary production equipment. The nature of the ingredients made it 
difficult to obtain a uniform mix and it was impossible to pump this mix 
from the kettle to the tube filling machine. To overcome these difficul- 
ties, Wallace and Tiernan, the first contractor in production, developed 
glass lined kettles and power driven agitators to mix the ingredients, used 
inert metals such as platinum or tungsten for valve seats, valve stems, and 
metallic parts of tubing machines, installed an air pressure transfer system, 
and devised glass and ceramic piping to carry the mix from the kettle to 
the tube filling machine. 

Another serious complication encountered in early manufacture was that 
the lead tubes into which the ointment was filled contaminated the prod- 
uct. Tubes made from aluminum or even from tin would have been pref- 
erable, but those metals were in short supply. The Dewey and Almy 
Chemical Co., Cambridge, Mass., developed a satisfactory lining for the 
tube, consisting of a combination of wax and synthetic rubber. This tube 
was put into production by several manufacturers, including the Peerless 

Products, Inc., CWS Production in World War II, an account written in Oct 44 by a representa- 
tive of the company at the request of CWS. CWS 314.7 Industrial History and Procurement File. 
(2) Interv, Hist Off with C. W. MacFarlan, 26 Feb 57. Mr. MacFarlan worked on development of 
protective ointment for the CWS before and during World War II. (3) Interv, Hist Off with 
Paul A. Longo, 29 Apr 58. Mr. Longo worked on production of the ointment in the New York 
procurement district. (4) Interv, Hist Off with Dr. Henry C. Marks, Wallace and Tiernan Co., 
27 Nov 57. Dr. Marks worked on the protective ointment program before and during World War 
II. (5) Ltr, Dr. Henry C. Marks to Hist Off, 10 Dec 57, implementing points discussed in inter- 
view of 27 Nov 57. (6) Interv, Hist Off with Dr. Ralph L. Evans of Evans Research and Devel- 
opment Corp., formerly Evans Chemetics, Inc.. 4 Mar 58. Evans Chemetics was an early protective 
ointment contractor. (7) Interv, Hist Off with Joel Y. Lund, 29 Apr 58. Mr. Lund supervised the 
ointment program at Lambert Pharmacal Co. 

60 Progress Report Covering Experimental W r ork Under Contract No. 266-CWS 120, Febru- 
ary 1, 1941, to December 31, 1941, submitted by Research Department of Wallace and Tiernan, 
Inc. ETF 615 W-lla. 



Tube Co., Bloomfield, N.J., and the Sun Tube Co., a subsidiary of the 
Bristol Myers Co., Hillside, NJ. 61 In August 1942 the CWS contracted 
with a third firm to produce the ointment, the Lambert Pharmacal Co., 
St. Louis, Mo. This company, which continued in production until No- 
vember of the following year, produced more ointment than either of the 
other contractors. 62 

In the fall of 1943 the NDRC began sponsoring conferences between 
manufacturers of the ointment and representatives of the CWS and the 
Navy. One of the chief objectives of the conferences was improvement in 
the packaging of the ointment. As a result of these conferences the con- 
tractors generally became much freer in exchanging ideas on all phases of 
the program. This they generally did through telephone calls or visits to 
one another's plants. 

An outstanding accomplishment connected with the procurement of 
the ointment was the development of an excellent brand of triacetin, an 
ingredient of glycerol triacetate, by the Tennessee Eastman Co. of Kings- 
port, Tenn. This company produced a high grade product and sold it to 
the manufacturers of the ointment at a reasonable price. The same com- 
pany also furnished the cellulose acetate butyrate used in the ointment. 

From February 1941 until December 1943 the CWS procured over 
58,000,000 2.54-ounce tubes of M4 ointment and from May 1944 until 
June 1945 over 26,000,000 packages, each containing 4 Ya -ounce tubes of 
M5 ointment. 63 

Detector Kits 64 

The CWS procured over 40,000 M4 vapor detector kits for detection 
of toxic agents in 1942 through contracts in the New York and Chicago 
procurement districts. No unusual problems arose in the procurement of 
this relatively simple item. In mid-1943, as indicated elsewhere, the M4 

81 Bristol Myers Company made BAL for the Medical Corps in World War II. See Civilian 
Production Administration, Industrial Statistics Division, Alphabetic Listing of Major Supply Con- 
tracts, Cumulative, June 1940 through September 194$, vol. 1, p. 495. 

62 CWS Report of Production, 1 Jan 40 through 31 Dec 45, p. 24. 

63 Crawford, Cook, and Whiting, Statistics, "Procurement," p. 23 and CWS Report of Produc- 
tion, 1 Jan 40 through 31 Dec 45, pp. 19, 24. 

64 This section is based on: (1) History of the Chicago CWPD, I Jan 45-15 Aug 45, pp. 68- 
69. (2) Evans interv, 4 Mar 58. (3) Interv, Hist Off with Raymond Reed, Chief of Research for 
Raymond Laboratories, St. Paul, Minn., in World War II, 14 Mar 58. (4) CWS Report of Pro- 
duction, 1 Jan 40 through 31 Dec 45, pp. 18-19- (5) David Tenenbaum, Chemical Agent Detec- 
tor Kit, M9, History of Development Work at Raymond Laboratories. CWS 314.7 Procurement 



was replaced by the M9, a kit containing nearly 200 small tubes of re- 
agents for detection of various war gases. 65 

The M9 proved much more difficult to produce than did the M4. As 
one of the chief wartime contractors later put it, "this item was typical 
of the new development, characterized by immature specification." 66 Com- 
mercial laboratories continually face situations such as this in day-to-day 
operations, but they do not attempt to put items into full-scale produc- 
tion until the items have reached an advanced state of development. With 
government wartime contracts it was different. The M9 kit was but one 
of a number of items on which the CWS awarded production contracts 
before mature development had taken place. 

The CWS awarded contracts in the summer of 1943 to two firms for 
production of the M9 kit, Evans Chemetics, Inc., of New York City, and 
Raymond Laboratories, Inc., of St. Paul, Minn. Because of the stream of 
specification changes which the CWS laboratory at MIT issued on the 
various items in the kit, neither contractor was able to produce a single 
finished kit for at least six months. Meanwhile, both contractors had de- 
vised methods for mass production, set up assembly lines, and made valu- 
able suggestions relative to certain features of the kit. Raymond Laboratories 
was particularly prolific with suggestions. In peacetime this company had 
manufactured appliances for beauty parlors and it applied some of its ex- 
perience with this type of item to the production of the M9 kit. For ex- 
ample, original specifications called for the use of lighted matches as a 
source of heat for producing chemical reactions. On the basis of its ex- 
perience in making heating pads for waving hair, Raymond Laboratories 
suggested the use of a foil wrapped pad which would produce flameless 
heat upon the addition of a liquid chemical. This suggestion the CWS 
gladly accepted. Again, original specifications called for packing the small 
glass tubes of reagents in cellophane straws and then sealing the ends of 
the straws by a heating process, Raymond convinced the CWS to substi- 
tute aluminum foil for cellophane. Finally, at the suggestion of Raymond 
Laboratories, the CWS made several changes in the design of the air sam- 
pling pump of the detector kit. 

The CWS procured over eighty- two thousand M9 kits between April 
1944 and July 1945. 

65 See lch. IVl above. 

68 Reed interv, 14 Mar 58. 



Decontaminating Apparatus 67 

In carrying out its gas readiness program the Army was able to find 
no quicker or more effective destroyer of liquid mustard or contaminated 
areas or structures than the bleaching powder or chloride of lime used in 
World War I, and large quantities of it were stored in depots here and 
abroad as part of the Army's gas warfare readiness program. The CWS 
procured over thirty-eight million pounds of bleaching material through 
private contract and obtained over thirty-one million more from the Brit- 
ish on reverse lend-lease. 68 The American bleach (known as Grade 3) 
which the CWS first procured had a high moisture content which caused 
chemical reaction leading to rupture of the containers. The British prod- 
uct, known as super tropical bleach, developed by the Imperial Chemical 
Industries, was a much more satisfactory product. The U.S. Government 
arranged to have the British Imperial Chemical Industries assist the Penn- 
sylvania Salt Manufacturing Co., which supplied bleach to the CWS, to 
construct a plant for the manufacture of tropical bleach at Wyandotte, 
Mich. This plant had been built and in production only a short time when 
a fire destroyed it in August 1944. Since the U.S. wartime requirements 
had been met by that time the CWS let no further contracts for bleach. 69 

For decontaminating vehicles, planes, weapons, fire control apparatus, 
and similar finished metal surfaces, DANC, the standard decontaminating 
agent, won-rorrosive, was used. 70 Because this decontaminant caused some 
damage to paint, plastics, and bare metal surfaces and because there were 
objections to the toxic solvent in its composition, the NDRC at the re- 
quest of the Naval Research Laboratory initiated a contract study under 
J. E. Kirby of the Du Pont Laboratories to find a better agent. No clearly 
superior decontaminant was developed. 71 

67 Unless otherwise indicated the section on power-driven decontamination units is based on: 
(1) History of the Pittsburgh CWPD, pp. 228-34; (2) History of Chicago CWPD, 1 Jan 45- 
15 Aug 54, p. 70; (3) CWS Report of Production, 1 Jan 40 through 31 Dec 45, p. 2; (4) Hinck- 
ley interv, 9 Jan 58; (5) Interv, Hist Off with Col Carl Casto, 17 Apr 58; Casto was chief of the 
Edgewood Arsenal Inspection Off in WW II, which inspected the power-driven decon apparatus 
and made numerous suggestions for its improvement; and (6) Interv, Hist Off with Ferdinand J. 
d'Eustachio, 24 Apr 58. Mr. d'Eustachio worked on the inspection and engineering problems of 
the decon apparatus in World War II. 

68 Consolidated Chemical Commodity Report, 16 Oct 51, p. 67. 

69 Memo, 1st Lt E. F. Lennon to Chief, Chemical Section, Industrial Division, OC CWS, 14 
Aug 43, sub: Report of Visit to Chicago CWPD and Penn Salt Mfg Co. CWS 314.7 Procurement 
File. (2) Interv, Hist Off with Maj Eugene F. Lennon, Jr., 27 May 58. Lennon was in the Chemical 
Commodity Division in World War II. 

70 DANC was a solution of a chemical compound known as RH 195 in acetylene tetrachloride. 

71 Noyes, Chemistry, pp. 184-87. 



The CWS modified fire extinguishers and garden sprayers for the ap- 
plication of DANC, and adapted commercial orchard sprayers for the dis- 
charge of volumes of bleach water mixtures (slurry) over large contaminated 
areas. Every vehicle going overseas was equipped with a l 1 ^ -quart decon- 
taminating apparatus and every company in the Army was furnished a 
3-gallon unit. The Army issued power driven apparatus to CWS decon- 
taminating companies and to the Armored Force and Air Force squadrons. 

In the spring of 1941 the CWS contracted with the F. E. Myers and 
Brothers Co., Ashland, Ohio, a manufacturer of pumps and orchard spray- 
ers, for six power driven models.- On the basis of these models, which 
the company delivered in June 1941, the CWS wrote specifications for the 
power driven decontaminating apparatus. After the outbreak of war the 
Myers Co. continued to manufacture the item. In March 1942 two addi- 
tional companies, Friend Manufacturing Co., Gasport, N.Y., and John 
Bean Manufacturing Co., Lansing, Mich., got into production. Later A. B. 
Farquhar of York, Pa., was awarded a contract. These companies found 
the item so difficult to manufacture that the CWS Inspection Division 
deemed it advisable first to approve numerous changes in the specifications 
and eventually to authorize a performance-type specification for the item. 

The apparatus (M3 and M3Al) which these companies manufactured 
for the CWS in 1942 and 1943 consisted of a 400-gallon wooden tank 
mounted on a 2^2 -ton truck with a pump and slurry agitator powered by 
a take-off from the engine of the truck. It was capable of spraying 400 
gallons of the mixture in twenty minutes. 72 For more efficient spraying a 
separate portable water heater was furnished in 1943. 73 Each manufacturer 
applied a pump of his own design to the apparatus which in effect put 
four models instead of one into the supply system. The item went into 
production before the CW Board had carried out extensive tests on the 
possible corrosive effects of the slurry. Upon investigation the board found 
that the slurry corroded not only the wooden tanks but also the pumps. 
The tanks could be cleaned — a difficult task to be sure — but there was 
nothing left to do with regard to the pumps but to require that they be 
made of noncorrosive materials. Friend Manufacturing Co. already had a 
pump with ceramic cylinder lining which was satisfactory. But Myers, 
Bean, and Farquhar had to change their pumps, an undertaking that proved 
onerous because of low CWS priorities. After the introduction of the hot 
bleach system it was found that the rate of corrosion became much more 

72 TM 3-221, 15 Apr 43, p. 3. 

73 TM 3-228, 15 Aug 44, p. 1. 



rapid. The practice of heating the slurry was nevertheless desirable since, 
as already indicated, it made for a much more effective spray. In fact in 
cold weather heating the liquid was a necessity. 

The Quartermaster Corps and later the Ordnance Department furnished 
the trucks on which the apparatus was mounted. Ordnance experienced 
so much difficulty procuring these trucks that in the spring of 1943 the 
CWS standardized a skid mounted apparatus (M4). 74 As its name indi- 
cates, this model was constructed on skids, and in such a manner that it 
could be hauled on a 2^-ton truck. The apparatus, with pump and agi- 
tator powered by a 22-horsepower gasoline engine, could spray the con- 
tents of its tank for about twenty minutes. 75 As with the previous model, 
each manufacturer of the skid mounted apparatus, proceeded to make his 
own type of pump. In procuring this new apparatus the CWS was faced 
with the problem of obtaining an engine to run the apparatus pump, be- 
cause with the elimination of the truck engine, the system of power take- 
off was also eliminated. Three of the companies had no trouble obtaining 
motors of the Continental and Novo variety, but the fourth, A. B. 
Farquhar, did experience difficulty. For a time the Ordnance Department 
supplied Ford motors that Farquhar could use, but that source of supply 
soon dried up. Following a suggestion of the Farquhar Co., the CWS ap- 
proached Sears, Roebuck and Co. with a request to supply Ford motors. 
But Sears furnished only Ford blocks into which parts had to be assem- 
bled. To accomplish the latter task, the CWS awarded a contract to a St. 
Louis firm which scoured every conceivable source of supply— junk yards, 
secondhand stores, auto supply stores— for parts and assembled them into 
the blocks. These rebuilt motors were shipped to Farquhar and incorpo- 
rated into the decontaminating unit. 

Discouraging though this procurement program was, the CWS might 
have continued with it but for general dissatisfaction with the skid mounted 
apparatus. No one liked its lack of mobility. By 1943, moreover, complaints 
were coming in from the theater on the lack of interchangeability of the 
parts of the various apparatus. The CWS therefore decided to standardize 
the most satisfactory truck mounted model, the unit produced by John 
Bean Manufacturing Co. From that time until the close of hostilities Bean 
was the sole manufacturer of power driven decontaminating apparatus. 76 

Few pieces of CWS equipment saw so much application overseas as 

74 CWTC Item 701, 23 Apr 43. 

75 TM 3-222, 5 Feb 44, p. 1. 

79 This model was the M3A2. See TM 3-223, 26 Jul 44. 



did these large decontaminating units. In the absence of gas warfare they 
were used as emergency fire fighting apparatus, water haulers, field show- 
ers, high pressure equipment cleaners, and later as large-volume spray 
apparatus in insect control operations. Both the hand operated decontami- 
nating apparatus and the MlO airplane spray tank were also used to spray 

The l^-quart hand decontaminator, M2, was essentially a modified 
commercial fire extinguisher. Several concerns, notably the Fyr-Fyter Co. 
of Dayton, Ohio, General Detroit Corp. of Detroit, and the Badger Fire 
Extinguisher Co. of Somerville, Mass., produced the item for the CWS 
during the first years of the war. There were difficulties in connection with 
the heavy consumptions of brass sheets and strips required for the M2. 
Copper and copper alloys were critical items, and the ASF would have 
welcomed a decontaminator constructed of other materials. But though 
such an item had reached the design stage by 1943, it did not get into 
production before the program ended. A major problem, both in the pro- 
duction model and the testing of substitutes, was the corrosive character 
of the decontaminating material with which the M2 was charged. Pyrex 
valves replaced steel because of this factor, and new spray nozzles and valve 
seats had to be designed. Total production of the M2 hand decontami- 
nators reached a rate of over one hundred and thirty thousand per month 
in the spring of 1943, and more than a million had been turned out when 
the program was terminated in October of that year. Limited production 
was resumed early in 1945 and continued until the end of the war. 77 

The 3-gallon decontaminating apparatus, Ml, like the power driven 
types, was adapted to CWS purposes from an agricultural sprayer. Again, 
the corrosive nature of the charge made certain design and material changes 
necessary. More than two hundred and seventy-five thousand Ml decon- 
taminators were procured from industry by the New York and Chicago 
procurement districts between 1941 and 1943. 78 

Miscellaneous Protective Items 
In 1938-39 the CWS, in co-operation with the Vortexol Co., Sangus, 
Mass., developed an impregnite to protect shoes against toxic agents. In 

77 (1) History of the Boston CWPD, vol. 7, pp. 61-65. (2) History of the Chicago CWPD, 
1 Jan 45-15 Aug 45, pp. 79-81. (3) History of the Pittsburgh CWPD, pp. 245-47, (4) Memo, 
Col J. E. Butterworth to Requirements Br ASF, 2 Apr 43, sub: Brass Sheet and Strip for Appara- 
tus, Decontaminating, \y 2 quart. CG, ASF, 475.9 Equipment, CWS. (5) CWS Report of Produc- 
tion, 1 Jan 40 through 31 Dec 45, p. 2. 

78 (1) History of the Chicago CWPD, 1 Jan 45-15 Aug 45, p. 81. (2) CWS Report of Pro- 
duction, 1 Jan 40 through 31 Dec 45, p. 2. 



the summer of 1940 the chiefs office awarded an educational order con- 
tract on shoe impregnite to Baldwin Laboratories, Seagerstown, Pa., a sub- 
sidiary of Robinson Industries, Inc. This educational order provided for 
the contractor (1) to prepare a factory plan and design for CWS approval, 
(2) upon approval of this plan to procure and install necessary equipment 
for the manufacture of the item, and (3) to produce 125 tons of the 
product during a 25-day period in order to prove the design and capacity 
of the plant. This contract proved very successful and Robinson Industries 
became one of the chief wartime producers of shoe impregnite. Not only 
did this concern produce a high grade product, but it also paid close at- 
tention to plant safety and co-operated in an exemplary manner with later 
contractors. Among the most successful of these were the Ernest BischofF 
Co., Inc., which manufactured the product at its Memphis, Tenn., plant, 
and the National Oil Products Co., which produced the material at its 
Cedartown, Ga., plant. Over seventy million 8-ounce cans of shoe impreg- 
nite were procured. 79 

The CWS procured over six and a half million dust respirators in 
World War II. 80 This item, which was designed to protect drivers of heavy 
vehicles from dust, consisted of a faceblank with a layer of filtering ma- 
terial, webbing, and inlet and outlet valves. The most critical component 
was the facepiece, which was manufactured by some half dozen rubber 
companies and which, because of its peculiar design, gave rise to several 
molding problems. Another difficulty that arose was the tendency of the 
respirator to build up high air resistance. This condition was caused by 
the type of cloth filter material used, and to overcome it the CWS modi- 
fied the filter material. 81 

To satisfy the Army demand for eyeshields the CWS procured almost 
72,000,000 of them through private contracts. 82 The eyeshield consisted of 
a cellulose acetate sheet (which was either clear or tinted), impermeable 
cloth, webbing, and metal hardware. The cellulose acetate sheeting and 
impermeable cloth were die cut and the webbing and hardware assembled 
to these components. The assembly process was relatively simple. The eye- 
shields were packaged in packets of 4— 2 clear and 2 tinted. 83 

79 (1) History of the Boston CWPD, vol. 7, pp. 58-60. (2) History of the Pittsburgh CWPD, 
pp. 208-15. (3) Crawford, Cook, and Whiting, Statistics, "Procurement," p. 22. 

80 CWS Report of Production, 1 Jan 40 through 31 Dec 45, p. 26. 

81 ( 1 ) History of the Boston CWPD, vol. 7, pp. 1-9. ( 2) Ltr, Paul A. Longo to Hist Off, 15 Apr 
58. Mr. Longo assisted in the administration of the dust respirator and eyeshield programs in the 
New York Procurement District in World War II. 

82 CWS Report of Production, 1 Jan 40 through 31 Dec 45, p. 12, 
8a Ibid. 



Other miscellaneous protective items which the CWS procured under 
contract were gas resistant aprons, made of impermeable cloth and intended 
for use by certain Medical Corps and CWS troops; gas resistant sacks for 
shipment of contaminated clothing to decontaminating stations; and vari- 
ous items for detecting such gases as vesicant detector crayons and liquid 
vesicant detector paper and paint. 

Most of the defensive items which the CWS procured were intended 
for protection against gas warfare, although certain of them such as the 
decontaminating apparatus and the eyeshield proved useful in nongas war- 
fare situations. Most offensive items, on the other hand, were intended 
for nongas warfare uses. These included such weapons as the incendiary 
bomb, the smoke generator, and the flame thrower, all of which the serv- 
ice procured in great numbers. The CWS also procured a considerable 
number of 4.2-inch chemical mortars and shells. The mortar, though origi- 
nally designed to fire toxic shells, was used during the war to fire high 

Problems of manufacture of CWS defensive items sprang chiefly from 
the attempt to put items that had not been fully developed into mass pro- 
duction. Of all these items the gas mask had been developed to the greatest 
degree, yet the pressure to produce new models during the war gave rise 
to many manufacturing difficulties. Such items as protective ointments, de- 
tector kits, and decontaminating apparatus were at primitive states of de- 
velopment when the CWS awarded production contracts for them. 
Development of these items proceeded simultaneously with their production. 


Procurement of Offensive Materiel 

Among the offensive munitions which the CWS procured in World 
War II were incendiaries of various types, 4.2 inch mortars and shells, flame 
throwers, smoke, and smoke munitions. 


The M54 Thermate Bomb 

Even before the Secretary of War officially notified the Chief, CWS, 
of his responsibility for the* entire incendiary bomb program, 1 General 
Porter was authorized on 28 August 1941 to procure over twenty-five mil- 
lion 4-pound incendiary bombs with magnesium bodies at a cost of some- 
thing under $50,000,000. On 20 September, after a decision by the Gen- 
eral Staff, procurement of fifteen million more bombs was approved, 
bringing the aggregate to forty million incendiary bombs. 2 General Porter 
took immediate steps to obtain these bombs, assigning direct responsibility 
to Col. Joachim E. Zanetti whom he appointed chief of a newly activated 
Incendiaries Branch, Technical Service, OC CWS. 3 After surveying a num- 
ber of industrial facilities the CWS began awarding contracts for the as- 
sembly and filling of the bombs as well as for the procurement of metal 

On the very day that Pearl Harbor was attacked The Adjutant Gen- 
eral telephoned General Porter's office and advised that over sixty-nine 

1 See |ch. VIIlT above, 

2 Memo, ExO Contl Div, OC CWS, for C CWS, 30 Nov 42, sub: Chronology of Events on 
Requirements of 4-lb Incendiary Bomb. CWS 314.7 Incendiary File. 

3 Organization Chart, OC CWS, 18 Sep 41. 



million dollars still available to the Chief of Ordnance from funds origi- 
nally estimated for the incendiary bomb program would be suballotted to 
the Chief, CWS. Before another two weeks elapsed contracts for assem- 
bling and filling twenty million incendiary bombs had been awarded to 
thirteen contractors throughout all the various procurement districts. 4 Con- 
struction of new manufacturing and loading facilities for incendiaries was 
meanwhile progressing at Pine Bluff and Huntsville Arsenals. Actual re- 
quirements for the 4-pound incendiary, as covered by the first supplemental 
appropriation act, Fiscal Year 1942, totaled over seventy-four million bombs, 
but since there was no possibility of obtaining magnesium, the steel body 
thermate bomb (M54) had to be substituted. For this reason the Office 
of the Under Secretary of War had held the requirements for the time 
being to twenty million bombs. 5 

In letting contracts for the M54 bomb the chiefs office directed each 
procurement district to start negotiations with a minimum of five com- 
petent firms for the metal components and subassemblies. Prime contrac- 
tors were required to subcontract at least 40 percent of the dollar value 
of their contracts. This provision was aimed at spreading the contracts 
through certified distressed areas and industries, which still existed in the 
period of initial war production. The procurement districts awarded these 
contracts to firms with experience in manufacturing such items as vacuum 
cleaners, oil filters, and household appliances. While this commercial back- 
ground was valuable, it was inevitable that problems should arise in the 
manufacture of new items. The most serious difficulty was fitting the nose 
and tail to the hexagonal bomb body. The contractors found it hard to 
obtain the services of qualified tool makers, engineers, and plant inspectors. 6 

4 (1) Memo, C Ind Svc, OC CWS, for A. H. Browning, SOS, 26 Mar 42, sub: The 4-lb In- 
cendiary Bomb. (2) Memo, ExO Contl Div, OC CWS, for C CWS, 30 Nov 42, sub: Chronology 
of Events on Requirements of 4-lb Incendiary Bomb. Both CWS 314.7 Incendiary File. (3) Ad- 
vance Weekly Rpt CWS, No. 33, to Statistics Br, OUSW, 24 Dec 41. CWS 319.1/70. 

5 ( 1 ) Memo, Lt Col Charles E. Loucks, ExO to C CWS, for Brig Gen H. K. Rutherford, OUSW, 
26 Sep 41, sub: Outline of General Plan Incidental to the Procurement of Incendiary Bombs. (2) 
Memo, ExO Contl Div, OC CWS, for C CWS, 30 Nov 42, sub: Chronology of Events in Require- 
ments of 4-lb Incendiary Bomb. Both in CWS 314.7 Incendiary File. 

6 (1) History of the Chicago CWPD, 1 July 1940 through 31 December 1944, p. 70. (2) 
Memo for District Executives, Boston, et al., 11 Oct 41, sub: General Plan for Procurement of 
Incendiary Bombs. Chicago CWPD 471.6 Bombs 1941. (3) Memo, C Ind Svc, OC CWS, for 
USW, 24 Dec 41, sub: Report of Accomplishments, Pending Difficulties in Connection with 
Procurement and Production Activities of CWS. CWS 400.12/106-139. (4) Interv, Hist Off with 
Col W. P. F. Brawner, 18 Mar 57. Colonel Brawner was Chief, Production Division, San Francisco 
CWPD, and l ater Executiv e Officer, Industrial Division, OC CWS. (5) Brophy and Fisher, Organ- 
izing for War\ ch. VII. 



These production and manpower experiences foreshadowed the more pro- 
nounced snarls of the later war period both in private industry and in 
government installations. 

The CWS awarded separate contracts for the final assembly and loading 
of the bomb. The service aimed at confining this type of contract to 
peacetime manufacturers of fireworks, powder, and explosives. This objec- 
tive was not always possible, and CWS loading contractors included a wall- 
paper manufacturer in Chicago and a stove manufacturer on the west coast. 

The loading contracts required the government to furnish all items in- 
cluding various fire ingredients such as barium nitrate, grained and flaked 
aluminum, black powder, and thermite. 7 The need for these and other 
chemicals in manufacturing incendiary bombs led to unprecedented demands 
on the chemical industry. For example, before the war only about four 
hundred tons of barium nitrate per year were manufactured in the United 
States; the incendiary bomb program required over twice that amount each 
month. Again, the one producer of thermite in the country turned out 
about fifty tons a month; the CWS needs rose to over two thousand tons 
per month. To supply the additional chemicals a number of new plants 
had to be constructed for the manufacture of barium nitrate and grained 
aluminum. The facilities of the ceramic industry, which were found to be 
lying idle because of WPB restrictions, were adapted to the manufacture 
of thermite. 8 

Immediately after the Pearl Harbor attack, the Under Secretary of War 
directed the Chief of the Chemical Warfare Service to "take all measures 
necessary to expedite so far as possible the delivery of incendiary bombs." 9 
In January 1942 the OC CWS, after hearing from the War Production 
Board that magnesium would be available by May or June, notified each 
of five procurement district offices to arrange for the purchase of compo- 
nents of the M50 bomb. 10 The district offices began immediately to ne- 
gotiate contracts for components and for casting magnesium bomb bodies. 

7 (1) Memo, C Ind Svc, OC CWS, for Executives, Boston, New York, Pittsburgh, Chicago, 
and San Francisco Districts, 11 Oct 41, sub: General Plan for Procurement of Incendiary Bombs. 
Chicago CWPD 471.6. (2) Ltr, C Ind Svc, OC CWS, to USW, 15 Oct 41, sub: General Plan .for 
Procurement of Incendiary Bombs. CWS 471.6/48. 

R (1) History of the New York CWPD, vol. 1, p. 169. (2) G. H. Mclntyre, "Ferro's War 
Story," Armed Forces Chemical Journal, II (October 1947), 12-15. 

9 The quotation appears in Memo, C Ind Svc, OC CWS, for ExO Chicago CWPD, 11 Dec 41. 
Chicago CWPD 471.6 Bombs 1941. 

10 Ltr, C CWS to CG SOS, 4 Mar 42, sub: Status of Procurement Program for 4-lb Incendiary 
Bomb. CWS 471.6/29. 



The Magnesium Bomb 

Magnesium was one of the most critical of wartime metals. In the emer- 
gency period the sole producer of the metal in this country was the Dow 
Chemical Co., which in 1939 turned out a peak peacetime quantity of 
6,700,000 pounds. 11 Concern over the need for far greater amounts of mag- 
nesium for war needs led to a government loan to the Permanente Metals 
Corp., organized by Henry J. Kaiser, to build a new plant at Permanente, 
Calif, in 1941. About the same time the Defense Plant Corp. (DPC) ini- 
tiated construction of other magnesium plants. By 1943 the DPC had built 
13 new plants, which were operated under private contract for the gov- 
ernment. 12 For three consecutive years in World War II the CWS took 
more than one third of all the magnesium produced in the United States 
for the magnesium bomb program. 13 Total CWS procurement of the metal 
from 1942 to 1945 amounted to over 288,000,000 pounds. 14 The service 
wrote contracts with the individual producers for magnesium alloy used 
in the manufacture of the incendiary munition. 15 

The magnesium bomb (M50) had a magnesium body and a cast iron 
nose, the body being molded around the nose. Casting of the bomb body 
in permanent type molds was a new art which made it possible to pro- 
duce the bombs in large quantities in a relatively short time, at a reason- 
able cost, and without undue use of critical raw materials. Neither the 
Germans nor the Japanese developed the art of casting this type of bomb 
in molds and throughout the war both nations continued to machine the 
bomb bodies. American manufacturers at first developed their own indi- 
vidual manufacturing techniques, but eventually, with the co-operation of 
the CWS, they set up a steering committee to exchange information. 16 

Among the very successful CWS contractors on this vital work were 
the International Silver Co. of Meriden, Conn; L. E. Mason Co. of Hyde 
Park, Mass.; Dow Chemical Co. of Midland, Mich.; the Permanente 

11 Statement of Hans A. Klagsbrunn, Executive Vice President, Defense Plant Corporation, 
and Deputy Director, Surplus Property, Reconstruction Finance Corporation, 27 Feb 45, Hearings 
Before Senate Small Business Committee on Aluminum and Magnesium, p. 1. 

12 See Hans A. Klagsbrunn, "Wartime Aluminum and Magnesium Production," Industrial and 
Engineering Chemistry, vol. 37 Quly 1945), 608-17. 

13 H. B. Comstock, Magnesium, Reprint from Bulletin 556, Bureau of Mines, 1955, p. 6. 

14 Consolidated Chemical Commodity Report, 16 Oct 51, p. 97. 

15 The alloy consisted of approximately 95 percent magnesium and 5 percent of alum, zinc, and 

16 Ltr, Lt Col A. C. Hamilton to Hist Off, 11 Sep 57. Colonel Hamilton supervised the incen- 
diary bomb program in the Boston CWPD in World War II. 



Metals Corp. of Permanente, Calif.; the American Radiator and Standard 
Sanitary Corp. of Richmond, Calif.; and the Austin Bridge Co. of Dallas, 
Tex. In May 1942 the first M50's came off the production line in the New 
York procurement district. 17 A problem that arose in the manufacture of 
the bomb body was its tendency to oxidize or "bloom." The oxidation 
was caused by flux left on the body after the casting operation. The flux 
was a magnesium chloride compound used on the surface of the molten 
metal to prevent fires. When a worker dipped his ladle into the melting 
pot he often picked up some of the flux with the magnesium alloy. Al- 
though workers were instructed to push away as much of the flux as pos- 
sible, they could not entirely eliminate it. In order to remove the substance 
and thus prevent the oxidation of the bomb, the bodies were pickled after 
casting. The pickling was generally performed by contractors in the pickling 
business. 18 In the fall of 1942 the Dow Chemical Co. conducted a study 
of "bloomed'* bombs and concluded that "blooming" was harmful only 
when it was so pronounced as to prevent the bombs from being tied in 
bundles, that a wire brush could be used to good effect to eradicate the 
"bloom," and that as a preventative bomb bodies should be filled as soon 
as possible after casting and packed in airtight shipping cases. 19 

Another complication in the manufacture of the bomb was the forma- 
tion of black deposits on the body during casting. It was found that bod- 
ies with such deposits would cause fires if rubbed against a metallic sub- 
stance. By mid-1944 a million and a half of such bombs were segregated 
and shipped to Pine Bluff Arsenal for storage. A study conducted by rep- 
resentatives of the CWS and the bomb manufacturers disclosed that the 
deposits were caused by lack of sufficient sulphur dioxide to keep air out 
of the mold. After considerable experimentation researchers found that the 
deposit could be prevented to a large degree by regulating the casting tem- 
perature, using more sulphur dioxide, cleaning the mold frequently, and 
taking care to eliminate flux. 20 

A series of explosions in bomb loading plants plagued the CWS in 
the spring of 1942. Over a 6-week period in March and April four explo- 

17 CWS Report of Production, 1 Jan 40 through 31 Dec 45, p. 9. 

18 The bombs were dropped into a stainless steel tank containing a pickling solution. This tank 
was suspended in another tank in which cold water circulated. 

19 (1) Ltr, Maj J. C Thompson, Plane Representative, to C CWS, 30 Nov 42, sub: "Bloom- 
ing" of Magnesium Bomb Bodies. Chicago CWPD 471.6 Bombs 1942. (2) J. E. Gilbert, Devel- 
opment of 4-lb Incendiary Bomb AN-M50A2. TDMR 1224, 4 Mar 46. 

20 (1) History of Chicago CWPD, 1 Jul 40 through 31 Dec 44, p. 74. (2) History of Boston 
CWPD, vol. 11, pp. 22-25. (3) C. E. Miller, Desensitization of "Black Deposits" on M50 Bomb 
Bodies. TCIR 143, 17 Jun 44. 



sions occurred which resulted in eight fatalities. The CWS was so con- 
cerned that it shut down the loading plants for several weeks pending an 
investigation and study by representatives of the Ordnance Department, 
the CWS, and the loading contractors. 21 

The general causes of the explosion were plain enough. The CWS had 
taken over a partially developed bomb from the Ordnance Department 
and under pressure from the War Department had put it into production 
without adequate lead time. In doing this the CWS did not insist that 
loading contractors construct explosive proof buildings and use the best 
safety procedures in filling the bombs. Actually no one knew exactly what 
the best procedures were, as is indicated by the fact that the War Depart- 
ment had previously classified incendiaries as pyrotechnics instead of ex- 
plosives. In fact, one of the explosions had occurred at the loading plant 
at Huntsville Arsenal. 22 

Although the specific causes of the explosions were not fully resolved, 
investigators learned enough to realize the need for certain changes. One 
of these related to the handling of the mix that was loaded into the bombs; 
the decision was made that it should be handled in small batches— 100 to 
200 pounds. The second change indicated was the need for better house- 
keeping to prevent the accumulation of dust, to insure proper ventilation 
of the building, and to provide for the installation of conductive flooring 
as a means of preventing static electricity. 23 

Oil Bombs 

After the M69 6-pound oil bomb was successfully tested at Jefferson 
Proving Ground in July 1942, 24 the CWS awarded an experimental con- 

21 (1) Memo, C Ind Svc, OC CWS, for USW, 23 Apr 42, sub: Report of Accomplishments, 
Pending Difficulties in Connection with Procurement and Production Activities of CWS. CWS 
400.12/106-139. (2) Joint Conference Commanding Officers of all Districts, Chiefs Incendiary 
Plants of all Arsenals, and Chief Inspectors and/or safety officers, and all executives and plant 
superintendents at 9:30 a.m. May 2, 1942, Room 5127, New War Department Bldg., on Loading 
Hazards in Incendiary Bomb Loading Plants. Chicago CWPD 471.6 Bombs 1942. Hereafter re- 
ferred to as Joint Conference on Loading Hazards. 

22 Joint Conference on Loading Hazards. It is nevertheless true that efficient loading contrac- 
tors who had previous experience in the loading of explosives, such as Federal Laboratories, Saltz- 
burg, Pa., experienced no difficulty. This company's plants were constructed in strict accordance 
with the "Tables of Distances for Explosive Plants" prescribed by the Commonwealth of Pennsyl- 
vania. Interv, Hist Off with C. R. Weinert, Technical Director, Federal Laboratories, 14 Nov 57. 
Mr. Weinert supervised the World War II loading operations at this plant. 

23 (1) Joint Conference on Loading Hazards. (2) CWS Safety Bulletin No. 1, 6 Mar 42, sub: 
Safety Requirements for the Loading and Handling of AN-M54 and AN-M54X Incendiary 
Bombs. CWS 314.7 Inc endiary File. 

24 (1) See lch. VHll above. (2) History of New York CWPD, 1 Jul 44 to 14 Aug 45, p. 264. 



tract for 52,000 of the bombs to the American Machine Defense Corp., 
New York City. In the fall, after the AAF had indicated heavy require- 
ments for the bomb, the chiefs office directed the procurement districts 
to award contracts for components and filling of the M69< As in the case 
of the thermate and magnesium bombs, the contracts were of two general 
types: (1) those for the bomb casing and its components, and (2) those 
for loading, assembling, clustering, packing, and marking the bomb. In 
the manufacture of the bomb casing the most difficult problem encoun- 
tered was brazing the nose of the bomb body. Specifications called for 
copper brazing, but since copper brazing equipment was in short supply 
other metals which melted at lower temperatures were used. For example, 
a New York district contractor employed brass as a weld while several 
New England contractors used silver solder. 25 The CWS awarded loading, 
clustering, packing, and marking contracts to firms in the East, the Mid- 
west, and the Far West. The bombs were also loaded under private con- 
tract at the CWS Firelands Plant, Marion, Ohio, and Huntsville Arsenal 
produced over 4,000,000 M69 bombs, which it assembled into more than 
111,000 clusters. 26 

In the summer of 1943 the CWS interrupted the M69 procurement 
program, terminating all existing contracts. The main reason for this ac- 
tion was dissatisfaction with the quick opening cluster, which had not yet 
been replaced by the aimable cluster. The design of the bomb itself also 
needed improvement. Early in 1944 technicians developed and put into 
production an aimable cluster and in the spring the procurement districts 
began awarding contracts on an improved M69 bomb. This later phase of 
the M69 program turned out to be much more satisfactory than the earlier 
phase. With CWS encouragement the contractors set up an integrating 
committee, which met at frequent intervals with representatives of the CWS 
in an effort to solve specific manufacturing problems. These meetings were 
alternately held at various manufacturing plants, thus enabling the con- 
tractors to inspect each other's facilities. 27 

In the summer of 1943, meanwhile, the procurement districts began to 
let contracts for the production of casings for the M74 10-pound oil bomb. 

25 (1) Ibid., p. 266. (2) History of Boston CWPD, 1940-1944, vol. 12, p. 6. 

™ (1) History of Pittsburgh CWPD, p. 222. (2) CWS Report of Production, 1 Jan 40 through 
31 Dec 45, p. 10. (3) Memo, Dr. L. Wilson Greene for Hist Off, 17 Sep 57. Dr. Greene was a 
CWS officer at Huntsville Arsenal in World War II. 

27 (1) History of the New York CWPD, 1 Jul 44 to 14 Aug 45, pp. 220-38. (2) History of 
the Boston CWPD, vol. 12, p. 7. (3) History of Pittsburgh CWPD, pp. 221-23. 



But not until the following summer did this program get actively under 
way. In the manufacture of this bomb, no less than in the M69, difficul- 
ties arose. For example, the copper brazing of the bomb presented a prob- 
lem. It was essential that all components fit correctly before the brazing 
operation, which was carried out in special electrical furnaces built by the 
General Electric Co. The CWS had to furnish the contractors with these 
furnaces and most of the other equipment used in making the bomb. The 
most serious problem encountered in the bomb body was the fabrication 
of the nosecup. This cup, which measured inches in length by 2% 
inches in diameter, with a wall thickness of V& inch, required 17 different 
operations. Since ordinary steel dies could not stand the strain, carboloy 
dies were developed. 

As with other small incendiary bombs, the M74 was loaded and clus- 
tered not only under private contract, but at certain CWS arsenals as well. 
Rocky Mountain and Huntsville Arsenals loaded, clustered, and packed 
this bomb. 28 No serious complication arose in filling the M74, but the 
M142 fuze caused a considerable amount of trouble. The design of this 
fuze, which was manufactured under private contract at the Ordnance Fire- 
lands Plant, Marion, Ohio, was such that visual observation did not reveal 
whether the fuze was armed. After several accidents caused by explosion 
of the fuze, the CWS changed contractors. The new contractor, the Ferro 
Enamel Corp., initiated a number of changes to improve safety and han- 
dling procedures, which resulted in satisfactory working conditions and a 
satisfactory fuze. 29 

Since the M74 bomb was designed to penetrate light structures and to 
eject its incendiary charge in the most vulnerable interior locations, it was 
regarded as a prime weapon against Japanese structures. The ASF and the 
CWS therefore rated the procurement of the M74 bomb among the most 
urgent wartime programs. 30 By the spring of 1945 AAF requirements for 
the M74 bomb, in anticipation of the invasion of Japan, reached a scale 
that called for the CWS to multiply its M74 component facilities by five 
and its loading lines by better than three. At the same time the AAF stepped 

28 (1) History of RMA, vol. IX, pp. 2773-78. (2) CWS Report of Production, ljan 40 through 
31 Dec 45, p. 9. 

29 Ltr, CO HA to C CWS, 22 Dec 44, sub: Fuze, Bomb, M142, and inds. CWS 47 1 T HA-44. 

ao (1) Ltr, Asst C Ind Div, OC CWS to CG ASF, 27 Oct 44, sub: Request for Authorization 
to Assign AA-1 Preference Rating in the Amount of $500,000 for Critical Equipment Required for 
M74 Incendiary Bomb. (2 ) Memo, Dir Prod Div ASF for C CWS, 27 Oct 44, sub: Request for AA-1 
Rating for Critical Equipment Required for M74 Incendiary Bomb Program. Both in Chicago 
CWPD 471.6 Bombs M74, 1944. 



up requirements for the M50 to a point where CWS facilities would have 
to be more than doubled. 31 The war ended before this expansion could 
be carried out. 

Large Incendiary Bombs 

The Ordnance Department furnished the bomb bodies for the M47 
(100-pound) and M76 (500-pound) bombs which the CWS filled in its 
own facilities. 32 Edgewood, Rocky Mountain, and Pine Bluff arsenals filled 
M47's, while Edgewood, Huntsville, and the CWS Firelands Plant filled 

M76's. 33 

Large facilities and equipment were needed for filling heavy incendiary 
bombs. For example, at Pine Bluff a tank farm was set up consisting of 
eight 20,000-gallon tanks. Four centrifugal pumps were used to pump gaso- 
line from car tanks to these storage tanks to the reactor room. The re- 
actor room, one of the largest buildings at the arsenal, was equipped with 
four 1,000-gallon reactors to prepare the gel for filling the bombs. 34 Plants 
of this type were set up to perform operations that had no counterpart 
in industry. It was inevitable that changes in operations would have to 
be made on the basis of experience. 

Napalm 35 

The manufacture of napalm, the metallic soap used to thicken gaso- 
line to form a fill for incendiary bombs and a fuel for flame throwers, 

31 Report, CWS Procurement Conference held at Boston CWPD, 24-25 Apr 45, p. 24. CWS 
314.7 Procurement File. 

32 (1) Ltr, C CWS to C Ord, 11 Apr 42, sub: Procurement of Bombs, Incendiary, Liquid M47 
(100-lb) and 1st and 2d Inds. CWS 471.6/251-290. (2) Ltr, C Insp Div OC CWS to C Insp Off 
RMA, 24 Jun 44, sub: M47 Bombs. CWS 471.6 Edgewood Arsenal (Jan through Jun 44). 

33 (1) CWS Report of Production, 1 Jan 40 through 31 Dec 45, p. 4. (2) Ltr, Mr. Sebastian 
Kessler to Hist Off, 11 Dec 57. Mr. Kessler was CWS engineer at the Firelands Plant in World 
War II. (3) Some M47 bombs were also filled in the theaters. See Pritchard, Kleber, and Birdsell, 
I Chemicals in Combat. I 

34 Preliminary History of Pine Bluff Arsenal (World War II), sec. VII. 

35 Unless otherwise indicated this section is based on ( 1 ) History of the San Francisco CWPD in 
World War II, pp. 82-83; (2) History of Pittsburgh CWPD, pp. 227-28; (3) History of Chemi- 
cal Commodity Procurement, 1 Aug 44-13 Nov 45, pp. 67-69; (4) Interv, Hist Off with Benja- 
min M. Redmerski, 10 Jun 58. Redmerski was an officer in charge of production of napalm in the 
NYCWPD throughout World War II; (5) Ltr, Redmerski to Hist Off, 10 Jul 58; (6) Interv, 
Hist Off with Maj Eugene F. Lennon, Jr, 16 May 58. (7) Baum, Columbia University Chemical 
Warfare Service Laboratories, pp. 52-59. (8) G. H. Mclntyre, "Ferro's War Story/' Armed Forces 
Chemtcal Journal, II, (October 1947), 14-15. (9) K. E. Long, "The Harshaw War Story," Ibid., 
II, (January 1948), 48-49, 



presented unforeseen problems. Prospective contractors did a great deal of 
development work at their own expense before any procurement contracts 
were awarded. The CWS required proof of performance by actually test- 
ing samples of the material at Edgewood and at the CWS laboratory in 
New York City and awarded contracts only to those firms that appeared 
capable of producing. These contractors included Nuodex Products Co., 
Elizabeth, N.J.; Imperial Paper and Color Corp., Glens Falls, N.J.; Ferro 
Enamel Corp. and McGean Chemical Corp., both of Cleveland, Ohio, and 
California Ink Co. and Oronite Chemical Co., both of San Francisco, Calif. 
These contractors almost invariably believed that the production of napalm 
would be a relatively simple matter, much like the manufacture of a com- 
mercial soap. In this they were mistaken, as experience soon demonstrated. 
While the same general processes were employed as in the manufacture 
of other soaps, napalm had to have standard components and low mois- 
ture content in all stages of its manufacture. 

One of the item's chief components, naphthenic acid, was a by-product 
of the petroleum refining process. Since oil from Venezuela and Aruba 
was rich in that particular acid, it was essential that the producers obtain 
the oil from those sources. Frequently they could do this by direct con- 
tact with commercial handlers, but often the CWS had to assist in securing 
a supply. Because naphthenic acid was also used as a paint drier and be- 
cause many paints, particularly those of the quick drying variety, were war 
requirements, the War Production Board found it necessary to allocate 
naphthenic acid. 

A second important component of napalm, coconut fatty acid, was ob- 
tained by boiling and pressing the kernel of dried coconut known as copra. 
This product, which was also used in the manufacture of shortenings and 
commercial soaps, was imported. Since many of the coconut producing re- 
gions were in war zones, it became very difficult to obtain copra during 
the war. 

Next to the difficulty of securing consistently pure components, the 
chief problem that arose in producing napalm was its required low mois- 
ture content. If the moisture content of napalm was too high, it would 
result in an ineffective and short-lived mix. Various measures were em- 
ployed to overcome this difficulty, such as reducing the exposure time of 
the soap to the surrounding humid atmosphere to a minimum, adding a 
dehydrating agent to the gasoline along with the soap, and air-conditioning 
the rooms in which the soap was exposed. The manufacturers used vari- 
ous methods to dry granular napalm. The United Wall Paper Co., for ex- 


ample, spread it thinly on wallpaper conveyers and passed it through a 
heated room. Most contractors placed the powdered napalm on shallow 
trays which were fitted into mobile racks and then pushed into drying ovens. 

In May 1943 the chiefs office appointed an officer from the Industrial 
Division to follow the napalm program closely and report progress to the 
Production Division, ASF. 36 The CWS laboratories at Edgewood and Co- 
lumbia University, as well as the NDRC laboratory at Stanford University 
did considerable research aimed at improving the manufacture of napalm. 
In addition, government contracts along this line were awarded to such 
firms as Eastman Kodak Co., Ferro Drier and Chemical Co., Harshaw 
Chemical Co., Shell Development Co., and Standard Oil Development Co. 
Despite all these efforts the quality of the napalm continued to vary con- 
siderably and mixing problems beset the CWS and the using units 
throughout the war. 37 

Procurement of the 4.2-Inch Mortar 39 ' 

In directing that two battalions of troops be supplied with 4.2-inch 
mortars, the Chief of Staff in September 1941 revoked an earlier directive 
of 19 July 1938 which had suspended the manufacture of the mortar. 39 
The decision to supply two battalions presented the Chief, CWS, with an 
immediate problem of procurement. General Porter's office turned to the 
Chicago procurement district office, because the 4.2-inch mortar had been 
allocated to the Crane Co. of Chicago under the prewar procurement plan. 
But by the fall of 1941 that company was working on other war contracts 
with higher priority and could not undertake the manufacture of the mor- 
tar. The Chicago district office therefore secured bids from five other 
manufacturers, two of whom were awarded contracts— the Bell Machine 
Co. of Oshkosh, Wis., and the Oakes Products Division of Houdaille- 
Hershey Co., Decatur, 111. The Bell Machine Co. concentrated on the manu- 

;Hfi Memo, C Facilities & Inspec Br for Dir, Prod Div, ASF. 22 May 43, sub: Fillers for M47, or 
M47A1, and M69 Incendiary Bombs. ASF 471.6 Grenade Bombs . 

37 See Pritchard, Kleber, and Birdsell, |Chemicals in Combat] 

38 Unless otherwise indicated, this section is based on the History of the Chicago CWPD, 1 July 
1940 through 31 December 1944, pp. 59-62, 1 January 1945-15 August 1945, pp. 51-52, and 
interviews wirh M. A. Bell, manufacturer of the 4. 2 -inch mortar (4 April 1957) and with the fol- 
lowing key officers who were intimately acquainted with the manufacture of the mortar: Col Gil- 
bert C. White (4 April 1957), Lt Col Walter E. Spicer, Jr., (28 April 1955), Lt Col J. S. Entriken 
(21 June 1956), and Lt Col Robert C. Hinckley (15 October 1956). 

39 Memo, ACofS G-3 for TAG, 5 Sep 41, sub: Chemical Troops, G-3/46556. The 19 July 
1938 directive, among others, is referred to in Memo, ACofS, G-4 for AC of SWPD, 28 Mar 40, 
sub: Lack of Chemical Warfare Weapons and Supplies. G-4/29895-1. 



facture of the barrel, while the Oakes Products Division made the carts 
for the mortar. 40 Other contracts were let for such parts as base plates, 
recoil springs, and elevating screws. 

The Bell Machine Co., a manufacturer of custom-made woodworking 
machinery in peacetime, undoubtedly did not foresee the tough job it would 
encounter in rifling the barrel of the mortar. The 4.2-inch barrel was unique 
in U.S. Army munitions in that it employed ratchet type rifling rather 
than the simple spiral rifling employed in small arms and in most field 
pieces. This feature seriously complicated the broaching of the barrel, as 
the Bell Co. and the CWS inspectors from the Chicago district shortly 
came to learn. 

Early in 1942 a broaching machine arrived at Oshkosh from Edgewood. 
Some 56 barrels had been rifled on this machine when it was discovered 
that 4 inches of the rifling toward the muzzle were defective. Little prog- 
ress could be made in manufacturing the barrel until a suitable broaching 
machine was obtained. To overcome the difficulty the OC CWS, awarded 
a contract to the American Broach Co., Ann Arbor, for the design of a 
new 35-ton hydraulic broach. This broach when put into operation was to 
prove very satisfactory, but it was not ready for installation at the Bell 
Machine Co. until June 1943. Meanwhile the manufacture of the barrels 
had been delayed for more than a year. Only 823 barrels were manufac- 
tured in 1942, compared to 2,002 in 1943 and 2,600 in 1944. 41 By Octo- 
ber 1944 the Bell plant had a capacity of 800 to 1,000 mortars a month, 
but the production schedule called for only 200. 42 

While the rifling of the barrel was the most perplexing task encoun- 
tered in producing the mortar, several other hitches arose. In each instance 
these difficulties were the outgrowth of efforts to increase the range of 
the mortar. Base plates and recoil springs broke and elevating screws bent. 
The CWS laboratories at Edgewood and M.I.T. worked on these prob- 
lems and, in addition, the service awarded contracts to private manufac- 
turers who were specialists in particular items. For example, it awarded a 
contract to A. O. Smith Corp. of Milwaukee to improve the welding tech- 
nique employed in the manufacture of the base plate. This company did 
an excellent job in working out the necessary preheating, positioning, 

"Contracts W799-CWS-189 and 190. 

41 CWS Report of Production, 1 Jan 40 through 31 Dec 45, p. 24. 

42 Ltr, Lt Col C. B. Watltins, IGD, to Actg IG (through CO CCWPD, C CWS, and CG ASF), 
26 Oct 44, sub: Special Inspection of CCWPD and Inspection Service, Chicago, Illinois. CWS. 



welding sequence, and heat treatment for a base plate suitable for CWS 
purposes. The Pullman Standard Car Co. of Hammond, Ind., also worked 
on the improvement of the base plate. L. A. Young Steel and Wire Co. 
of Detroit provided the CWS with a greatly improved spring, while Foote 
Brothers Gear and Machine Co. and the Lindberg Engineering Co., both 
of Chicago, did much to perfect the elevating screw. By mid-1944 most 
of the technical problems arising in the manufacture of the mortar had 
been solved. 43 

In 1943, as indicated above, the CWS began to develop a recoilless 
4.2-inch mortar. In September 1944 the service placed an experimental con- 
tract with the Budd Wheel Co. of Detroit for the manufacture of 25 of 
the new recoilless mortars. 44 After receiving these 25 prototype samples 
the Office of the Chief directed the Chicago procurement district to in- 
vestigate the possibility of procuring the item on a mass basis. Late in 
1944 the Office of the Chief sent the drawings and specifications on the 
new recoilless mortar to the Chicago procurement district with the view 
of obtaining a contractor to produce the item on a mass production basis. 
On examining the drawings and specifications, the Chicago district decided 
that the most practicable procedure would be to superimpose the contract 
on the Bell Machine Co. and on 24 January 1945 a letter of intent for 
1,000 barrels was issued to that company. The Bell plant had to be retooled 
for the new mortar, a process which proved very time consuming, and by 
the war's end Bell had turned out only 100 of the models. 45 Two days 
after V-J Day 12 of these reached the Pacific theater. 46 

The CWS first conducted proofing of the mortar exclusively at Edge- 
wood Arsenal, but beginning in late 1942 some mortars were also proofed 
at Huntsville Arsenal. From mid- 1943 until the spring of 1944 all mortars 
were fired for acceptance inspection at Huntsville. The mortars were 
shipped from the points of manufacture, assembled, and fired. Proofing 
procedures consisted of firing sand filled shells, using a heavy propellant 

43 (1) T. R. Paulson, Development of the 4.2-inch Chemical Mortar E35R1, 18 Mar 46, TDMR 
1202, p. 23. (2) Memo, C Proof Sec, Chemical Mortar Proof-testing Br Camp McCoy to C Insp 
Office Chicago CWPD, 3 Oct 44, sub: Special Test on Elevating Screws. Chicago CWPD 472.4, 
Chemical Mortars. (3) Report on 4.2-inch Mortar Base Plate by A. O. Smith Corp. ETF 2182-6. 

44 (1) Ltr, C Insp OfFEA to C Insp Div, 6 Sep 44, sub: Mortar, Chemical, 4.2-Inch Recoil- 
less, E34. (2) Memo, C Offense Matl Br for AC Mfg and Proc CWC EA, 6 Oct 44, sub: Status of 
the 4.2-Inch Recoilless Chemical Mortar. Both in CWS 472.4. 

45 CWS Report of Production, 1 Jan 40 through 31 Dec 45, p. 24. 

46 CWTC Item 1785, Obsoletion of the Mortar, Chemical, 4.2-Inch Recoilless, M4, and the 
Shell, 4.2 -Inch Recoilless Chemical Mortar, M6, with Cancellation of Related Military Require- 
ments and Development Type Items, 25 Sep 47. 



charge. If found satisfactory, the mortars, together with mortar carts, were 
shipped to the theaters of operation or points in the zone of interior. 47 

Since shipping the mortar parts to Edgewood and Huntsville caused 
considerable delay, the CWS in the spring of 1944 investigated the pos- 
sibility of acquiring a proofing site nearer the point of manufacture. After 
arrangements were made in July 1944 all mortars were proofed at Camp 
McCoy, Sparta, Wis., until the war was over. 48 

Procurement of the 4.2-Inch Mortar Shell 49 

In the prewar years the CWS procured 4.2-inch shells from Frankford 
Ordnance Arsenal. While the Ordnance Department could supply the 
peacetime needs of the CWS, it was in no position in mid-1940 to fill an 
order for 47,626 E38R2 shells. The Office of the Chief was therefore ob- 
liged to obtain these shells through private contract. It directed the com- 
manding officer of the Pittsburgh procurement district to send invitations 
to bid to four likely contractors for machining, assembling, and packing 
the shells. The lowest bidder was the H. K, Porter Co. of Pittsburgh, a 
reputable manufacturer of industrial locomotives, diesel engines, and chem- 
ical processing equipment. Under the contract the government agreed to 
furnish some $77,000 worth of equipment— government-furnished equip- 
ment being a common feature of wartime contracts. About the same time 
that the Porter contract was awarded, other contracts were let to some 

47 (1) TT, CO Chicago CWPD to CO HA, 23 Dec 42. Chicago CWPD 472.4 Chemical Mor- 
tars 1942-1943. (2) Ltr f C Insp Div OC CWS to C Insp Off EA, 6 Jul 43, sub: Proofing and Re- 
conditioning of Mortars. CWS 472.4 EA 43. (3) Ltr, C Insp Div OC CWS to C Insp Off HA, 
14 Feb 44, sub: Responsibility of Inspection Office -Proofing of 4. 2 -Inch Chemical Mortars. CWS 
472.4 HA 44. (4) History of Chemical Warfare Center, p. 248. (5) History of Huntsville Arsenal, 
vol. 2, p. 785. 

48 (1) Hinckley interv, 15 Oct 56. (2) History of the Chicago CWPD, 1 Jan 45-15 Aug 45, 
p. 52. 

49 Unless otherwise indicated this section is based on: (1) History of the Pittsburgh CWPD, 
pp. 192-207. (2) History of the Chicago CWPD, 1 July 1940 through 31 December 1944, p. 63. 
(3) History of the Dallas CWPD, February 1942-June 1944, pp. 93-97. (4) History of the Dal- 
las CWPD, 1 July 1944-14 August 1945, p. 35. (5) History of the Boston CWPD, 1940-1944, 
vol. 8, pp. 1-4. (6) History of San Francisco CWPD in World War II, pp. 76-78. (7) Analysis 
of Chemical Warfare Service Pricing Record World War II, pp. 59-62. (8) Lt G. E. McCullough, 
Engineering Test of 4. 2 -Inch Chemical Mortar Shell Experimental— Manufactured by the Scaife 
Company. TDMR 348, 11 Feb 42. (9) Ltr, Ch Tech Div OC CWS to A. V. Murray, Scaife Co., 
3 Nov 44, with enclosure History of the Development of the Fabricated 4.2-Inch Chemical Mor- 
tar Shell, 31 Oct 44. SPCVF-141 Scaife Co., CWS 314.7 Procurement File. (10) Interv, Hist Off 
with Paul A. Varley, 6 Nov 56. Varley was the CWS officer in charge of the mortar shell program 
in the Pittsburgh CWPD in World War II. (11) Interv, Hist Off with C. E.Johnson, Vice Presi- 
dent for Engineering, Scaife Co., 13 Nov 57. Johnson worked on mortar shell engineering in World 
War II. 



half dozen prime contractors for such components of the shell as the burster 
tube well, the vane, the cartridge container, and the striker nut. A con- 
tract for forging shell bodies was awarded to the Pennsylvania Forge Co. 50 

In October 1941 the War Department authorized procurement of 160,879 
more E38R2 shells; later this authorization was changed to 143,230 M2 
shells and 33,584 M3 shells. The OC, CWS, directed the Pittsburgh dis- 
trict to procure these additional shells, whereupon the contracting officer 
of that district sent invitations to bid to six prospective contractors. The 
successful bidders were the Lempco Products Co. of Cleveland, a producer 
of industrial machine tools, grinders, and equipment used in the automo- 
tive industry; the Hydril Corp., Rochester, Pa., a manufacturer of oil field 
supplies and equipment; and the H. K. Porter Co. which was already work- 
ing on the shell. 

With the vast increase in requirements for 4.2-inch mortar ammuni- 
tion, the CWS began to investigate the possibility of manufacturing the 
shell more quickly and economically than by the forging process. In the 
1930's the Ordnance Department in an effort to make a less expensive 
shell had experimented with one fabricated from seamless steel tubing, 
but this experiment had not proved successful. 51 In the summer of 1941 
the matter was brought up in a discussion between Maj. J. L. Rose of the 
Office of the Chief and R. F. Cecil, vice president of the Scaife Co., Oak- 
mont, Pa. The Scaife Co., a producer of boilers, pressure vessels, and com- 
mercial and domestic hot water tanks, specialized in the field of steel tubing. 
Cecil suggested to Rose the possibility of fabricating the shell from com- 
mercial hot rolled tubing and of brazing both base and nose adapter to 
the casing of the shell. 52 The practice at the time was to weld the base 
and adapter to the casing and this had not proved satisfactory. After the 
CWS had shown keen interest in Cecil's suggestions, the Scaife Co., at 
its own expense, worked on these developments both in its own labora- 
tories and at the Mellon Institute of Industrial Research, Pittsburgh, Pa., 
where it sponsored a research fellowship. On 22 December 1941 the com- 
pany was able to deliver ten fabricated shells with bases and adapters brazed 
to the casings to Edgewood Arsenal, where the shells were tested and proved 

50 (1) History of the Pittsburgh CWPD, pp. 192-93. (2) Varley interv, 6 Nov 56. 

51 Charles T. Mitchell, Outline of 4. 2-Inch Chemical Mortar Development, p. 66. ETF 218- 
26, 22 Feb 45. 

52 An adapter is tl a metal lining put into the nose or base of a shell to make it fit the fuze." 
TM 20-205 f 18 Jan 44. 



satisfactory. 53 The CWS then awarded the Scaife Co. the first of several 
wartime production contracts. The company's findings were made avail- 
able to other mortar shell manufacturers, so that the bulk of 4.2-inch shells 
produced in World War II were of the fabricated variety. In the fabri- 
cated shell the requirement for steel was 20 pounds to the shell as com- 
pared to 50 pounds in the forged shell. 

By the spring of 1942 requirements for the shell had reached a point 
where the CWS felt obliged to seek additional contractors, and the serv- 
ice awarded 4 additional prime contracts at that time. Two of the new 
contractors, Erie Basin Metal Products, Inc., and the David Bradley Manu- 
facturing Division of Sears Roebuck and Co., were located in the Chicago 
Chemical Procurement District. The other 2, the Guiberson Co. and 
Hardwicke Etter Co., were in the Dallas procurement district. In 1943 an- 
other prime contractor was added, the Day and Night Manufacturing Co. 
in the San Francisco district. Early in 1945 prime contracts were awarded 
5 more manufacturers, 3 in the Boston procurement district and 2 in the 
Dallas procurement district. But the war came to an end before any of 
these 5 got into production. 

In order to exchange information on the 4.2-inch shell program, a Shell 
Manufacturers Co-ordinating Committee was established in 1942. This com- 
mittee, whose chairman was Mr. Cecil of the Scaife Co., held monthly meet- 
ings, at which one representative of each manufacturer in the United States 
was present. In attendance also, but not as active committee members, 
were experienced officers and civilians from the CWS. 54 

The CWS estimated requirements for the shell on the basis of a con- 
tinually growing theater demand and, of course, passed on the requirements 
to Headquarters, ASF, to be incorporated into the Army Supply Program. 
On 1 October 1944 the ASF reduced the Army Supply Program figure 
for 4.2-inch shells from 5,645,306 to 4,007,000 without stating the reasons. 
After the CWS protested this action, Headquarters, ASF, reversed its de- 
cision and on 13 November approved the original figure of 5,645,306. The 
CWS had meanwhile been retarded over a six- week period in efforts to 
secure steel for its 1945 production, a procedure that required considerable 

53 (1) Lt G. E. McCullough, Engineering Tesc of 4.2-Inch Chemical Mortar Shell Experimen- 
tal-Manufactured by the Scaife Company. TDMR 348, 11 Feb 42. (2) Charles T. Micchell, Out- 
line of 4.2-inch Chemical Mortar Development, p. 66. ETF 218-26, 22 Feb 45. 

" Ltr, Asst C Ind Div, OC CWS, to CG's of all arsenals and CO's of all CWPD's, 28 Dec 42, 
sub: 4.2 Chemical Mortar Shell Manufacturing Committee Meetings. Chicago CWPD 471.3. 



lead time. Early in 1945 reports from the theaters of operations indicated 
that the 4.2-inch shell was in such short supply that commanders had re- 
sorted to rationing. This development was probably an outcome of the 
ASF action of 1 October in cutting back shell requirements; at least the 
CWS felt that it was. 55 

The Shell Fuze 

When the procurement of the shell was allocated to the Pittsburgh 
district in 1940 a contract was awarded to the Westinghouse Airbrake Co. 
for assembling the metal components of the fuze and to the Acme Die 
and Machine Co. for loading the fuze. Later, contractors for the assembly 
of the metal components were Casco Products Co., Bridgeport, Conn.; 
Atlas Ansonia, North Haven, Conn.; Heckethorne Manufacturing Co., Lit- 
tleton, Colo.; Milwaukee Stamping Co., Milwaukee, Wis.; Louis S. Dow, 
Minneapolis, Minn.; and Simset Manufacturing Co., Oakland, Calif. In 
addition to the Acme Die and Machine Co., the following contractors and 
arsenals loaded fuzes during the war: Atlas Ansonia; William M. Fencil 
Manufacturing Co., Huntley, 111.; National Fireworks, Inc., West Hanover, 
Mass.; Pine Bluff Arsenal, Arkansas Ordnance Plant, Little Rock, Ark.; 
and Picatinny Ordnance Arsenal, Dover, NJ. Loaded fuzes and empty shells 
were shipped to CWS arsenals (Edgewood, Pine Bluff, and Huntsville) 
for loading with chemicals and to Ordnance plants or contractors for load- 
ing with high explosives. Ordnance plants loading HE shells were Kansas 
Ordnance Plant, Parsons, Kans.; Louisiana Ordnance Plant, Minden, La.; 
and Picatinny Arsenal, Dover, NJ. Ordnance contractors loading the shell 
were National Fireworks Inc., and National Munitions, Eldred, Pa. 56 

During the war there were a number of instances when rounds of am- 
munition exploded prematurely either in the barrel of the 4.2-inch mortar 
or immediately after leaving the muzzle. This matter was given consider- 
able publicity after the war when the Special Senate Committee Investi- 
gating the National Defense Program was holding hearings on Erie Basin 

55 Memo, C Field Requirements Div OC CWS for Col Elliott (Deputy Chief CWS), 3 Mar 
45, SPCWD. (2) Min, Mtg, Requirements Planning Committee, OC CWS, 28 Feb 45- (3) Min, 
Mtg, Requirements Planning Committee, OC CWS, 6 Nov 44. All in CWS 314.7 Requirements 

56 Report on Malfunctions of the 4.2 Chemical Mortar Ammunition, Their Cause, Effect, and 
the Measures Taken to Correct the Deficiencies, 12 Aug 46. A report prepared by the C CWS, for 
USW, Appendix 559. Hereafter cited as Report on Malfunctions. 


4. 2- Inch WP Chemical Mortar Shells on an assembly line, Pine Bluff Arsenal, 

Metal Products, Inc. 57 The committee then requested the Chief, CWS, to 
furnish accurate figures on how many were killed and wounded by these 
premature explosions or bursts. 58 

The CWS reported that during the war there were sixty-three prema- 
ture explosions in the zone of interior and the theaters of operation. These 
explosions brought death to thirty-eight American soldiers and injury to 
127. After each explosion the lot of ammunition was impounded and a 
thorough investigation made. Some commanding officers in the field felt 
it tactically urgent to utilize the ammunition even after it had been de- 
clared unsafe. 59 In every instance, it was found that faulty fuzes were a 
factor in premature bursts. 60 Various malpractices in fuze manufacture, in 
some cases the result of lack of experience, were discovered. Among these 
were failure to put steel safety balls in the fuzes, the use of inaccurate 
and uncontrolled methods of loading the fuze, the stacking of detonators 

57 See below, pp. |36l-67."| 

58 investigation of the National Defense Program, Hearings before a Special Committee Investigat- 
ing the National Defense Program, U.S. Senate, 79ch Cong. 2d sess., pursuant co S.R. 55, 79th 
Cong., extending S.R. 71, 77th Cong, ( Washington, 1947), p. 1 9071. Hereafter cited as Hearings. 

59 See Pritchard, Kleber, and Birdsell, Chemicals in Co mbatJ 

60 Other factors that had a possible bearing on premature bursts were poor packaging and stor- 
age of chemical shells. See Pritchard, Kleber, and Birdsell, |Chemicals in Combat. | 



into position rather than cementing the detonator cap. 61 One manufac- 
turer, National Fireworks, Inc., was singled out has having had a dispro- 
portionate number of detonator rejects and faulty plant practices. The 
CWS conceded that had inspectors been on the alert these conditions 
would not have existed. 62 

The CWS required its inspectors to examine all fuzes before they were 
released to the loading plants by the assemblers. After receiving complaints 
from the field on the malfunctioning of 4.2-inch mortar ammunition, the 
service reviewed all inspection practices. The Inspection Division, OC CWS, 
called several conferences, the most noteworthy being held in Milwaukee 
on 5 January 1945. The purpose behind this conference was restudy of 
all phases of fuze manufacture and review of all authorized waivers and 
changes to insure that they did not compromise proper functioning of the 
fuze. In attendance at the conference were representatives of the CWS and 
all contractors assembling and loading the fuze. The day after the con- 
ference the group visited the Fcncil plant at Huntley, 111., to review at 
first hand problems associated with the assembling and loading of the fuze. 63 
This plant had an excellent record in producing safe fuzes. 

The Pencil plant's success was the result of the extreme precautions its 
owner took both in constructing the plant and in carrying out loading 
operations. William M. Pencil, who headed the company, had been trained 
as a chemical engineer and in peacetime had been a manufacturer of gas- 
kets. He wanted to engage in war work and after approaching the office 
of the CWS Chicago procurement district in mid- 1942 he learned of the 
search for suitable contractors to assemble and load the fuze. Fencil 's edu- 
cational background and business experience impressed the CWS procure- 
ment office, where he was given favorable consideration. Before undertaking 
a contract Fencil made a thorough study of Ordnance manuals on ammu- 
nition and made a tour of a well run ammunition loading plant. When 
he built his own plant at Huntley, Fencil took pains to see that all safety 
features were incorporated into the design. He was equally cautious in 
carrying out loading operations. Convinced that the primary need was for 

ei The term "stacking the detonators" referred to the practice of holding the detonator in place 
by means of metal prongs raised from the surface of the slider. These prongs sometimes abraded 
the delicate mechanism and caused a rough surface subject to corrosion. Cemented detonators, on 
the other hand, left the slider smooth and the cement coating itself was a protection against corrosion. 

62 Report of Malfunctions, Abstract preceding Table of Contents. 

63 Minutes of meeting between representatives of U.S. Army and representatives of industry on 
the 4.2-inch mortar fuze, held at the Milwaukee Stamping Co., West Allis, Wis., on the 5th day of 
January 1945, at 0900. 314.7 Procurement File. 


safety rather than mass production, he hired a great many inspectors to 
insure that every fuze was properly loaded. He set up a procedure whereby 
after 100 fuzes had been loaded operations were interrupted to ascertain 
if one or more components were left over. If such was the case the entire 
100 were disassembled and reworked. While this procedure tended to slow 
up production, it insured the loading of safe fuzes. 64 

In contrast to the practice at CWS arsenals and privately operated 
plants, there was no CWS inspection of fuzes loaded at Ordnance plants. 
Since the Ordnance Department was the biggest and presumably the most 
competent munitions loader in the United States, the CWS felt that it 
did not need to have inspectors at those plants. This arrangement was 
discussed and agreed upon by the CWS and the Ordnance Department. 65 

Criminal Involvement of Mortar Shell Contractors 

During World War II CWS contractors became involved on two sep- 
arate occasions in criminal activities that led to court trials and convic- 
tions. 66 While both these trials attracted considerable publicity, the second 
elicited far more attention than the first for it involved a prominent United 
States Representative from Kentucky, Andrew Jackson May, who was 
Chairman of the House Committee on Military Affairs. May, together with 
Murray Garsson and his brother Henry M. Garsson, were tried and con- 
victed in a federal court in the District of Columbia for conspiring to de- 
fraud the government. In July 1947 they were each sentenced to serve from 
eight months to three years in a federal penitentiary. 67 

Just a year before sentence was passed the affairs of Congressman May 
and the Garssons were publicly aired at hearings before the Special 
Committee of the U.S. Senate Investigating the National Defense Pro- 
gram. 68 In July 1946 this committee took testimony relative to government 

64 (1) History of Chicago CWPD, 1 Jan 45-15 Aug 45, p. 54. (2) Interv, Hist Off with Wil- 
liam M. Fencil, 14 Mar 58. (3) Hinckley incerv, 15 Oct 56. 

65 Report on Malfunctions, p. 74. 

6G The first of these trials involved underloading of incendiary bombs and grenades by the Anto- 
nelli Fireworks Co. of Spencerport, N.Y. On 10 June 1944 a Federal jury in Rochester, N.Y. found 
the president, two superintendents, and a foreman of this company guilty of conspiracy to defraud 
the government. The indictment had also charged the defendants with sabotage, but the jury after 
deliberating for thirteen hours failed to find them guilty on that count. See Report of Antonelli 
Fireworks Co., Indictment and Trial for Criminal Activities in Connection with CWS Contracts, 
compiled by the CWS legal adviser. CWS 314.7 Antonelli Case File, 

67 Sentence was pronounced by Judge Henry A. Schweinhaut. See World Almanac and Book of 
Facts for 1948, p. 760. 

68 Hearings, pts. 34 and 35. 



contracts with two corporations in which the Garsson brothers served as 
officers, Erie Basin Metal Products, Inc., and Batavia Metal Products, Inc. 
The government agency party to the contracts was the Ordnance Depart- 
ment in some instances and the Chemical Warfare Service in others. A 
great deal of the testimony centered around the contacts between several 
key officers of the Chemical Warfare Service and the Garsson brothers. 
It was disclosed that in the summer of 1941 Henry Garsson went to the 
office of Col. Paul X. English, then executive officer to the Chief, CWS, 
to inquire about the possibility of obtaining a war contract. Garsson said 
he was representing the Segal Lock and Hardware Co., Brooklyn, N.Y., 
which was setting up a subsidiary, the Erie Basin Metal Products, Inc., 
for the purpose of doing war work. This company, Garsson stated, was 
particularly interested in a contract to manufacture 4.2-inch mortar shells. 69 
On 7 October 1941 Henry Garsson wrote a letter to the Chemical War- 
fare Service in which he made a bid on the mortar shell. He stated that 
Erie Basin Metal Products, Inc., "organized under the laws of state of New 
York," was an affiliate of the Norwalk Lock Co. and a subsidiary of the 
Segal Lock and Hardware Co. One week later, Colonel English thereupon 
addressed a letter to Henry Garsson, Erie Basin Metal Products, Inc., 395 
Broadway, New York, N.Y., pointing out that there would not be the 
immediate demand for the 4.2-inch shell that had been anticipated and 
that the CWS therefore would not be able to award a contract. 70 It was 
brought out at the hearings that at that time the Erie Basin Metal Prod- 
ucts company had not come into existence, that it was not incorporated 
in the state of New York until 29 January 1942, and that it was not at 
any time an affiliate of the Norwalk Lock Co. or a subsidiary of the Segal 
Lock and Hardware Co. 71 

Actually Henry Garsson was employed as a consultant engineer by the 
Segal Co. and according to Louis Segal, president of that company, he 
performed very satisfactorily. Garsson had suggested to Segal that the Erie 
Basin company be set up as a subsidiary of the Segal Lock and Hardware 
but the suggestion was never implemented. 72 Apparently while awaiting 
word from Mr. Segal, Henry Garsson on 25 January 1942 met Allen B. 

m Hearings, pt. 34, p. 17678. 

70 Hearings, pt. 35, Exhibit 1939. 

71 (1) Hearings, pt. 34, Certificate 2476B, State of New York, County of New York, 29 Jan 
42, being Exhibit 1756. (2) Hearings, pt. 34, p. 17760, testimony of Louis Segal, President of 
Segal Lock and Hardware Co. 

72 Ibid., pp. 17781-87. 



Gellman in the Washington office of Congressman Sabath of Illinois. 
Gellman's family and the family of Joseph T. Weiss owned several 
Illinois corporations, including the Illinois Watch Case Co., which made 
watch cases and metallic novelties, and the United States Wind Engine 
and Pump Co., which made farm implements and railroad supplies. When 
Gellman heard of Garsson's interest in the 4.2-inch mortar shell, his 
curiosity was aroused because he recognized that this was a mass produc- 
tion item which his plants could make. 73 Gellman agreed to assist Henry 
Garsson and his brother financially and this agreement flowered into an 
amazingly complicated financial structure, in the manipulations of which 
Congressman May became entangled. These manipulations were the chief 
target of Senate investigators, who contended that their purpose was the 
realization of excessive war profits. 

Five days after Gellman met Garsson and one day after Erie Basin 
Metal Products, Inc., was certified as a New York corporation, Colonel 
English, now Chief, Industrial Service, OC CWS, as CWS contracting 
officer, issued a letter of intent to the new company at 75 West Street, 
New York, N.Y. 74 This letter was an order for 15,000 4.2-inch chemical 
mortar shell bodies and 15,000 chemical mortar shell fuzes, "the shell 
bodies f.o.b. common carrier, Brooklyn, N.Y., or Elgin, 111,, the fuzes, 
f.o.b. common carrier, point of loading and assembly." 75 A provision to 
manufacture an item at either of two locations was seldom if ever in- 
cluded in government contracts. The provision for the manufacture of 
fuzes was deleted as of 27 April 1942. 76 

At the time Colonel English issued the letter of intent to Erie Basin 
Metal Products, Inc., he forwarded a directive to the New York procure- 
ment district, and apparently to the Chicago district also, to begin prepa- 
ration of a formal contract. On 23 February 1942 the commanding officer 
of the New York district sent a confidential memorandum to the Chief, 
CWS, stating that Henry Garsson's statements regarding the status of 
Erie Basin Metal Products, Inc., were contradicted by Louis Segal. A copy 
of this memorandum was sent to the commanding officer of the Chicago 
Chemical Warfare Procurement District. 77 

7 * Hearings, pt. 35, p. 18809. 

74 A letter of intent served as a contract until a more formal contract was written. 

75 Hearings, pt. 34, Exhibit 1757. 

76 (1) Interv, Hisc Off with Lt Col Robert M. Estes, former Chief, Purchase Policies Division, 
OC CWS, 18 May 52. (2) Personal Statement of Lt Col Robert M. Estes on Erie Basin Metal 
Products, Inc., p. 1. This 3 3 -page statement, which was compiled during and after World War 
II was turned over to the Chemical Corps Historical Office in 1952. CWS 314.7 Procurement File. 

77 Hearings, pt. 34, Exhibit A- 17, p. 18267. 



Why did neither the chief's office nor the Chicago Procurement Dis- 
trict office act on this memorandum casting doubt on Henry Garsson's 
trustworthiness? To this question the Senate investigators were most 
anxious to obtain an answer. Brig. Gen. Paul X. English testified that he 
did not see the memorandum until it was brought to his attention in the 
latter part of 1943 in connection with the renegotiation of the contract. 
He stated that if he had seen it in February 1942 he would not have 
gone through with the contract, at least not before thoroughly investigat- 
ing Mr. Segal's statement. 78 The commanding officer of the Chicago dis- 
trict recalled having received the memorandum but could not recall 
whether it was before or after he signed the contract. 79 But regardless of 
the memorandum, he declared, he would have signed the contract because 
the letter of intent and General English's signature on the contract itself, 
dated 1 March 1942, gave him no alternative. 80 To this statement General 
English took vigorous exception, saying that under no conditions was a 
commanding officer supposed to "go blindly into" a contract. 81 The 1 
March contract was the first of a number which the CWS awarded to 
two companies in which the Garssons obtained an interest— Erie Basin 
Metal Products, Inc., and the Batavia Metal Products company. 

Why wasn't the memorandum from the commanding officer of the 
New York Procurement District brought to General English's attention 
in February 1942? No definite answer to that question was forthcoming 
at the hearings. But the committee left little doubt as to whom it thought 
was responsible for the failure. It strongly intimated that a civilian lawyer 
in the Office of the Chief, CWS, who was closely associated with Con- 
gressman May and the Garssons, was the culprit. Toward the end of the 
hearings several members of the committee accused this lawyer, whose 
legal career before coming into the Chemical Warfare Service had been 
under a cloud, of perjury and of purloining documents and records. The 
chairman of the committee said he hoped the Department of Justice 
would look into the man's record. 82 If the Department of Justice fol- 
lowed up the suggestion, it apparently did not feel there was sufficient 
evidence for conviction because the individual was not prosecuted. 

He was the only person in the CWS whose motives the committee 
questioned. Several committee members did imply, and with seemingly 

78 (1) Ibid., p. 17686. (2) Interv, Hist Off with Brig Gen P. X. English, 26 Oct 56. 

79 Hearings, pt. 34, p. 17648. 

80 Ibid, pp. 17651, 17684. 
61 Ibid, p. 17683. 

82 Hearings, pt. 35, pp. 18934-36. 



good reason, that the judgment of several CWS officers left something to 
be desired. On the other hand, the committee hearings brought to light 
that other CWS officers used extremely good judgment and were most 
solicitous for the welfare of the government in their dealings with com- 
panies controlled by the Garsson interests. Particularly noteworthy was 
the role played by the chief of the Purchase Policies Branch, Colonel 
Estes, 83 Estes' attention was drawn to the Erie Basin and Batavia Metal 
companies by the unusual high prices in the contracts. He had made 
some headway in reducing these prices, but in December 1944 they were 
still so high that Estes advised the Renegotiation Division, ASF, to 
request a Bureau of Internal Revenue audit on the Garsson brothers. 84 On 
2 January 1945 the Renegotiation Division replied, stating that Estes' pro- 
posal for an audit was considered impractical. Then on 8 May, Estes per- 
sonally conferred with the Chicago Bureau of Internal Revenue District 
Field Office, where he learned that an audit on the Garssons was already 
under way. Early in the summer of 1945 the ASF reversed its previous 
decision and concurred in requesting an audit from the Bureau of Inter- 
nal Revenue. 85 

In January 1945, meanwhile, Estes called the attention of a CWS pro- 
curement conference to the terms of the Erie Basin contract, terms which 
enabled the contractor "to pay higher salaries, buy $500,000 worth of 
equipment from an affiliate, and within half a year write off half of his 
shell production facilities, in addition to paying $250,000 rent to another 
affiliate," 86 These remarks attracted the attention of Brig. Gen. Charles E. 
Loucks, Chief, Industrial Division, OC CWS, who had been making some 
observations on his own on the "fantastic" prices in the Garsson con- 
tracts. 87 General Loucks deputized Colonel Sanson of his staff to review 
those contracts for the purpose of revising them downward, and early in 
1945 this was done. 88 

On V-J Day, 14 August 1945, Colonel Estes advised the Legal Branch, 
OC CWS, through the Assistant Chief, CWS, for Materiel, General 

83 Hearings, pt. 34, pp. 18075, 18100-102, 18107-109. 

84 Ltr, C Purchase Policies Br OC CWS to C Renegotiation Div, ASF, attn: Lt Col W. W. 
Watts, 8 Dec 44, sub: 1943 Renegotiation of Erie Metal Products Inc. and Illinois Watch Case 
Co., Inc., Elgin, 111. Copy in CWS 314.7 Garsson Case File, 

85 Urs, R. M. Estes to Hist Off, 30 Jan 52 and 4 Mar 52, and Ltr, Brig Gen Charles E. Loucks, 
Acting Chief Chemical Officer to Hist Off, 21 Mar 52, commenting on Estes 4 Mar 52 ltr. 

Bfi Report of CWS Procurement Conference held at Pittsburgh, Pa., 8 Jan 45. CWS 314.7 
Procurement File. 

87 Ltr, Brig Gen Charles E. Loucks to Hist Off, 21 Mar 52. 
B8 Hearings, pt. 34, pp. 17743-54. 



Ditto, that no termination payments should be made to the Erie Basin 
Metal Products companies until the full extent of the liabilities of those 
companies to the government had been determined. 89 A week later Estes 
addressed a second memorandum directly to the Renegotiation Division, 
ASF, in which he again urged the withholding of invoice and termina- 
tion claims to the Erie Basin company in order to protect the interests 
of government in recovering excessive profits. 90 Colonel Estes* letter was 
followed by positive action on the part of the Renegotiation Division, 
ASF, which suggested to the Office of the Under Secretary of War that a 
withholding order be issued against Erie Basin. The Under Secretary's 
office issued such an order on 6 September 194 5. 91 

The Under Secretary's order to withhold funds brought vigorous reac- 
tion from the Garssons and their associates. Before it was issued the 
civilian lawyer in the OC CWS referred to above, drafted a letter for the 
Commanding General, ASF, which the Assistant Chief, CWS, for Materiel 
signed, criticizing the position the Purchase Policies Branch had taken. 92 
Congressman May bombarded Under Secretary Patterson's office with phone 
calls, Patterson turned the problem over to Kenneth C Royall, a special 
assistant. On the basis of a survey the Under Secretary issued a directive 
on 15 September modifying the freeze order of 6 September. 93 

No mention whatever was made in the withholding orders of any 
company other than the Erie Basin Metal company. Mr. Royall, after he 
had become Under Secretary of War, said he had never even heard of the 
Batavia Metals company until May 1946 when he was informed of the 
following developments. 94 On 13 September 1945 the Settlement Advisory 
Board of the Chemical Warfare Procurement District, acting on what 
they considered reliable data, made a partial payment to the Batavia Metal 
Products company of $3,846,700 of which amount $3,231,649.60 went to 
liquidate the outstanding balance of the government's advance payment 
account and the remainder was paid to the contractor. Subsequently, an 
audit of this company's account disclosed some rather unusual accounting 

89 Ltr, C Purchase Policies Br OC CWS to C Legal Br, thru: AC CWS for Mat'l, 14 Aug 45, 
sub: Renegotiation and Termination Settlements with Erie Basin Metal Products, Inc. Copy in 
CWS 314.7 Garsson Case File. 

90 Memo, C Purchase Policies Br OC CWS for Dir Renegotiation Div, ASF, 23 Aug 45, sub: 
Withholding Payments of Invoices and Termination Claims to Protect Government Interest in 
Recovery of Excessive Profits. Hearings, Exhibit I860. 

91 Hearings, pt. 34, Exhibit 1861, p. 18099. 

92 Ibid., Exhibit 1890. 

93 Ibid., Exhibit 1863. 
9i Ibid. t p. 18176. 



practices and it was concluded that the Batavia company's invoices to the 
government should have been $1,067,000 less than previously reported, 
or, in other words, that the Batavia Metal Products owed the government 
over a million dollars. A later audit reduced the figure somewhat. 95 In 
May the Batavia company agreed to repay the government $140,000 at 
once and $50,000 a month thereafter to liquidate the debt. 96 Mr. Royall 
referred the matter to the Department of Justice for advice and on 18 June 
1946 Theron L. Caudle, Assistant Attorney General, wrote to Mr. Royall: 

If a criminal case should result from the Department's investigation of the Batavia 
Metal Products Co. and related companies, it is felt that acceptance of the contractor's 
offer would make successful prosecution more difficult. However, the investigation to 
date is not sufficiently complete for the Department to express any opinion as to whether 
a criminal case will develop, and therefore, no determination can be made at the present 
time as to the advisability of accepting the contractor's offer. 97 

Acting upon the advice of the Department of Justice, Mr. Royall made 
no move to accept payments under the terms suggested by the Batavia 
company. 98 Instead, the War Department, through the CWS, served a 
demand on Batavia Metal Products, Inc., to repay the excessive portion 
of the partial payment which had been made." This demand against the 
Batavia company, which went into the hands of receivers in the fall of 
1946, was never honored. In the spring of 1952 the case against the 
Batavia company, so far as its civil aspects were concerned, was nol- 
prossed by the government. But action against the Erie Basin company 
was to continue for a number of years. 100 

Flame Throwers 

Portable Flame Throwers 101 

In April 1942 the CWS awarded a contract to the Beattie Manufactur- 
ing Co., Little Falls, NJ., a nationally known manufacturer of rugs and 

** Hearings, pt. 35, Exhibit 1924, p. 19355. 

96 Ibid. 

97 Hearings, pt. 34, Exhibit 1899, p. 18181. 
9S Ibid, p. 18181. 

99 Notes in history of Garsson contracts compiled by special agents of FBI in September and 
October 1946. CWS 314.7 Garsson Case File. 

100 Thirteen years after the close of the war the Department of Justice had two civil and one 
criminal cases pending against the Erie Basin Metal Products, Inc. and Erie Basin had two civil 
suits pending against the government. 

101 Unless otherwise indicated this section is based on: (1) History of New York CWPD, from 
1940 through June 1944, pp. 198-224; (2) Interv, Hist Off with William Hewitt, inspector on 
the flame thrower in New York CWPD, and Alfred Benson, engineer in New York CWPD dur- 
ing World War II, 16 Mar 50; (3) Interv, Hist Off with Lawrence J. Beck f production engineer 
on portable flame thrower for Beattie Manufacturing Co. in World War II, 26 Nov 57; (4) 
A Iphabetic Listing of Major War Supply Contracts. 



carpets, for production of the MlAl flame thrower, the development of 
which was well under way. 102 In mid-1941 this company had acquired the 
services of Lawrence J. Beck, an engineer who had worked closely with 
the CWS on the development and production of early model flame throwers. 
Beck's background and experience plus the company's standing in the 
business world virtually guaranteed creditable performances. In July 1943 
the CWS engaged another prime contractor, the E. C. Brown Co., 
Rochester, N.Y., a manufacturer of agricultural sprayers, especially of the 
portable type. These two companies produced over 14,000 MlAl's in such 
an excellent manner that they were awarded contracts on the later model, 
the M2-2. In May 1944 a third contractor, R. F. Sedgley, Inc., of Phila- 
delphia, was awarded a prime contract on the M2 model. Sedgley was a 
well known manufacturer of high grade sporting rifles. Over 24,500 M2-2 
flame throwers were produced in 1944 and 1945. 103 

Of the three prime contractors, E. C. Brown was the most self-con- 
tained facility. This company manufactured production tools and made 
certain components not only for itself but also for the other two primes. 
Numerous subcontractors supplied components to all the primes — such 
items as pressure regulators, high pressure valves, safety heads, die cast- 
ings, rubber components, and fuel filling lines. All contracts were under 
high priority, particularly after the ASF, in June 1944, issued an urgency 
circular describing the M2-2 as a "new and superior weapon." 104 

In the manufacture of the M2-2 the contractors used the latest tech- 
niques to insure uniformity and quality. All silver brazing on the gun 
assembly was done by induction heating and die cast aluminum parts were 
used for lightness and interchangeability. Corrosion resistant materials were 
used to withstand the effects of extreme climatic conditions. Complica- 
tions arose in the manufacture of the fuel valve, the safety mechanism, 
and the outlet valve needle. The technique for the construction of the 
fuel valve, which consisted of a rubber diaphragm molded to a metal pin, 
was never fully developed, and on several occasions the service had to 
suspend production because of the number of rejects of this valve. 105 The 
safety mechanism had two objectionable features: it frequently pinched 
the operator's hand and it had a tendency to shift to the "off safety" 

102 See |ch. VIl| above. 

loa cws Report of Production, 1 January 1940 through 31 December 1945, p. 13. 
104 ASF Urgency Circular, 24 Jun 44, sub: Flame Thrower M2-2. Chicago CWPD 470.71 OC 
CWS Flame Throwers. 

iQ5 The valve was very difficult to operate. Only a man with a large hand could open it. 



position should the operator accidentally touch it. The outlet valve was 
difficult to adjust with the result that frequent leaks occurred. These 
defects were never entirely eliminated. 

All the prime contractors built test ranges to proof test the flame 
throwers. These ranges were completely equipped to handle and service 
the weapon and its parts. Although the CWS and the contractors took 
safety measures to protect workers against the hazards involved in test- 
ing, three cases of severe burns occurred during the war period. 

Auxiliary Flame Throwers 

In December 1943, after a successful demonstration for representatives 
of the ASF, the CWS, the AGF, U.S. Marine Corps, and the Navy, pro- 
duction of the tank mounted auxiliary flame thrower (E4-5) was begun. 106 
The CWS awarded a contract to the Kemp Manufacturing Co. of Balti- 
more to develop a pilot model. By early 1944 this company had devised 
a flame thrower consisting of a ten-gallon fuel tank, a gun utilizing a 
gasoline-electrical ignition system, and compressed air for propelling the 
flame. 107 Later an improved ten-gallon unit was developed jointly by the 
Westinghouse Electrical Corp., Atlantic Division, Philadelphia (also known 
as the Atlantic Elevator Co.), and J. B. Blair Co., Mineola, N.Y. These 
companies had produced fifty experimental models by the time the war 
came to an end. 

Meanwhile the M3^-3 auxiliary type flame thrower had been de- 
veloped, 108 and the CWS awarded a production contract to the Atlantic 
Elevator Co. for production of these units. Over 1,700 were manufactured 
in 1944 and 1945. 109 The principal engineering difficulties in this type of 
flame thrower were the malfunctioning of the gasoline ignition valve, the 
faulty design of the diaphragm on the fuel discharge valve, and the 
clogging of the atomizer of the ignition system. Many units had to be 
rejected until these defects were rectified. 

In November 1944 the CWS awarded a contract to Pressurelube Inc. 
for 500 periscope- type flame throwers. 110 The manufacture of the periscope 
type proved very troublesome. The ignition system failed to function unless 

106 Memo, CG AGF for CofS, U.S.A., attn: G-4, 10 Oct 44, sub: Mechanized Flame Throwers. 
AGF Cml Sec 470.71. 

107 Ibid. 

108 See ch[VIl]above. 

109 CWS Report of Production, 1 January 1940 through 31 December 1945, p. 13. 

110 See ch fyiTT above. 



the air pressure in the gasoline tank was at a critical point between 12 and 
30 pounds per square inch, and the exact point for each unit could be 
determined only by experience. Another obstacle was leakage in the fuel 
valve; in some instances this was caused by defective valve seals, in others 
by porosity in the valve housing. Technicians took steps to improve the 
valve by impregnating the castings with a polyspastic and cashew nut oil, 
by using different bronze alloys, and by improving manufacturing processes 
in the foundry. Pressurelube produced only 192 of the 500 units ordered. 111 

Main Armament Flame Throwers 

Early in 1945 the CWS awarded prime contracts to M. W. Kellogg Co. 
of Jersey City and the Pullman Standard Car Co. of Hammond, Ind., for 
the main armament flame thrower (E12-7R1). They made little progress 
on the contracts largely because priorities for material were too low. The 
WPB upon request granted higher priorities for specific items but this 
procedure was time consuming. To rectify the situation, the Director of 
the New Developments Division, War Department Special Staff, Brig. Gen. 
William A. Borden, on 26 June 1945 suggested to the Assistant Chief of 
Staff, G-4, that, in view of reports from the Pacific areas indicating the 
great effectiveness of the armored flame thrower, the E12-7R1 project 
should be assigned a priority "equally as high as the Manhattan Project." 112 
Upon reviewing General Borden's memorandum the Assistant Chief of 
Staff, G-4, passed it on to OPD for comment. Someone apparently 
brought the matter to the immediate attention of the Under Secretary of 
War, for the very next day the Under Secretary informed the Command- 
ing General, ASF, that production of the E12-7R1 should have sufficient 
priority to insure delivery on schedule. 113 The following day— 28 June- 
General MacArthur cabled the War Department urging that units be 
equipped with the E12-7R1 flame thrower. 114 

111 (1) Historical Record of M3-4-E6R3 Mechanized Flame Thrower Contract, 20 Sep 45. 
Copy in CWS 314.7 Procurement File. (2) Hewitt interv, 16 Mar 50. (3) CWS Report of Pro- 
duction, 1 January 1940 through 31 December 1945, p. 13- 

1,2 DF, Brig Gen W. A. Borden, Dir New Developments Div to G-4, 26 Jun 45, sub: Pro- 
duction Status of Tank Flame Thrower, E12-7R1. OPD 470.71. By this time a number of mech- 
anized units had been manufactured and assembled in the Middle Pacific Area and had been suc- 
cess fully employed in Pacifi c operations, especially on Okinawa. See Pritchard, Kleber, and Bird- 
sell, IChemicals in Combat! 

113 See Memo for Record, 3 Jul 45, included with comment No. 3, C, Projected Logistics, with 
Ltr, OPD to G-4, 3 Jul 45, sub: Production Status of Tank Flame Thrower E12-7R1. 
OPD 470.71. 

114 CM-IN-27779 referred to in ibid. 



The personal interest in the armored flame thrower displayed by 
echelons of the War Department and by General MacArthur led to ac- 
celerated production of the E12-7R1. On 4 July 1945 General Somervell 
wrote a personal letter to 83 subcontractors appealing to them to meet 
their schedules. In this letter he indicated that the War Production Board 
would be most co-operative in the matter of priorities and urged the con- 
tractors to take any problem or anticipated problem directly to a CWS 
officer whom he named as his personal representative. On 21 July the 
Industrial Division, OC CWS, reported to the Commanding General, ASF, 
that one or more telephone calls had been received from 21 of these con- 
tractors and letters from 23 others pledging co-operation. Late in July the 
acting director of Plans and Operations, ASF, was able to report to OPD 
that after the issuance of a triple A priority, 25 flame throwers were being 
produced in July, and 85 scheduled for August. Contemplated production 
for September ran to 115 and for each of the following three months to 
1 75. 1 1 5 But the war ended before this scheduled production could be 
carried out. 

Smoke and Smoke Munitions 

Hexachloroethane (HC) 

Hexachloroethane was the principal ingredient in making HC smoke 
mixture used in smoke pots, smoke grenades, smoke bombs, and certain 
types of shells and rockets. The prewar requirement for hexachloroethane 
was relatively small and the chief source of supply was the Pittsburg, 
Calif., plant of the Dow Chemical Co. The estimated capacity of that 
plant was about 3,000 tons a year, while the CWS requirements under 
the Army Supply Program (as of 14 January 1943) were 16,191 tons for 
1943, and 33,222 tons for 1944. In order to fill immediate requirements 
the CWS contracted with a Canadian firm to deliver 2,500 tons late in 
1942. At the same time, the service began writing contracts for future 
delivery with the Dow Chemical Co., the Hooker Electrochemical Co. of 
Niagara Falls, N.Y., and the Westvaco Chlorine Products Co. of South 
Charleston, W.Va. 116 In August 1942 the government started construction 

115 (1) Ltr, CG ASF to Eastman Manufacturing Co., Manitowoc, Wis., 4 Jul 45. Chicago 
CWPD 470.71 Flame Thrower 1944-45. (2) Memo, Actg Q Prod Br Ind Div OC CWS for CG 
ASF attn: Col G. D. Woods, 21 Jul 45 } sub: Results of General Somervell's letter of 4 July to 
Subcontractors of the Mechanized Flame Thrower. ASF 470.71 Flamethrower. (3) Memo, Actg Dir 
Plans and Opns ASF for Asst CofS OPD WDGS, 27 Jul 45, sub: Main Armament Flame Throw- 
ers E12-7R1. OPD 470.71. 

116 Dow Chemical Co. was to produce the product at Freeport, Tex. 



of the CWS Kanawha Plant adjacent to the property of the Westvaco 
Chlorine Products Co. The following summer the CWS Marshall Plant 
at New Martinsville, W.Va., was erected for the production of hexachloro- 
ethane and other chemicals and a contract awarded to Du Pont to oper- 
ate the plant. From these various sources the CWS procured over 9,000,000 
pounds of hexachloroethane in 1943 and almost 8,000,000 pounds in 
1944. 117 

In 1943 a priority problem arose on perchlorethylene, the chief ingre- 
dient of hexachloroethane. Perchlorethylene is produced from acetylene 
tetrachloride, which is also the source of chemicals used in degreasing 
metal parts and in dry cleaning. The CWS had to work closely with the 
War Production Board to set up a schedule that would guarantee per- 
chlorethylene in sufficient quantities. 

Among the munitions filled with HC smoke mixture were 2-pound 
bombs, M8 grenades, rifle smoke grenades, M88 and M89 shells, canis- 
ters for 105-mm. and 155-mm. shells, 100-pound and 500-pound clusters, 
2.35-inch rockets, and smoke pots. Virtually all the 2-pound bombs were 
loaded under private contract in the Pittsburgh and Chicago procurement 
districts. Rifle grenades, smoke shells, and canisters were loaded at CWS 
arsenals, particularly Huntsville and Pine Bluff. Edgewood Arsenal filled 
all 100- and 500-pound clusters. 118 

The Ml smoke pots were manufactured and filled at Huntsville and 
Pine Bluff Arsenals and under contract in the New York and Dallas pro- 
curement districts. The latter districts also procured all the M5 smoke pots. 
Maintaining safety in the loading plants took constant attention. The crea- 
tion of static sparks was an ever present possibility and to eliminate it a 
high degree of humidity had to be maintained in the plants. The tragic 
experience of one of the contractors with a poorly designed air condition- 
ing system pointed up the need for extreme care. Because of the scarcity 
of raw materials this company set up a system wherein all the air condi- 
tioning ducts throughout the entire plant were connected. One day a fire 
broke out in one of the explosive-proof cubicles. The fire itself proved 

117 (1) History of the New York CWPD, June 1940 through June 1944, vol. 1, pp. 181-85. 
(2) Chemical Warfare Presentation SOS Staff Conference, 14 Jan 43, sub: Procurement and Pro- 
duction Problems, CWS 337, 1943. (3) Memo, Dir of Req Div SOS for C CWS, sub: Produc- 
tion of Hexachloroethane. CWS 334.8, Chemical Warfare Production. (4) History of Kanawha 
Plant, CWS, p. 22. (5) History of the Marshall Plant, CWS p. 1. CWS Report of Production, 
1 Jan 40 through 31 Dec 45, p. 17. 

118 CWS Report of Production, 1 Jan 40 through 31 Dec 45, pp. 5, 7, 11, 16, 26. 



relatively harmless, but the air cool- 
ing system spread the smoke created 
by the burning HC mix throughout 
every room and department of the 
plant. So thick was the smoke that 
workers could not find doors and 
windows only a few feet away. Two 
employees suffocated. This experi- 
ence led the Plant Protection and 
Safety Branch, OC CWS, to rule 
that air conditioning systems should 
have elaborate automatic safety cut- 
offs and that in all future installa- 
tions each section of a plant should 
have a separate air conditioning 
system. 119 During the war the 
CWS procured over 5,000,000 Ml Brig - Gen - William A. Borden 
and over 880,000 M5 smoke pots. 120 

The service also procured a great quantity of floating smoke pots for use in 
amphibious operations. Almost all of these— over 2,000,000— were filled at 
Huntsville Arsenal. 121 The loading process consisted of pressing the 26 
pounds of HC mix into the 5-gallon buckets with 8 tons of dead weight. 
A delay train ignition device, which consisted of a pyrotechnic mixture 
pressed into a metal tube, was attached to the lid. The lid was then strapped 
on the bucket, after which the pot was ready for packing. At first wooden 
boxes were used for packing but later these were replaced by steel drums. 
As in the case of other type smoke pots, the loading of the floating pot 
presented hazards. In pressing the mix into the buckets a certain portion 
was forced out as dust. To overcome this health and safety hazard Hunts- 
ville Arsenal constructed shields to force the dust back to the base of the 

White Phosphorus (WP ) 

In August 1941 the CWS awarded a contract for delivery of white 
phosphorus, the smoke and incendiary agent, to the Victor Chemical 

11H G, B. Spencer- Strong, ^Pemco War Story," Armed Forces Chemical Journal, III (October 
1948), 53-55. 

J20 CW S Report of Production, 1 Jan 40 through 31 Dec 45, p. 25. 

121 Ibid. 

122 History of Huntsville Arsenal from July 1941 to August 1945, vol. II, pp. 534-38. 



Works. The Victor company's Mount Pleasant, Tenn., plant supplied Edge- 
wood Arsenal with the material until December 1941. After the outbreak 
of war the CWS procured the bulk of its WP from Tennessee Valley 
Authority (Wilson Dam, Ala.) although between April 1943 and April 
1946 it also obtained some from the Columbia, Tenn., plant of the Mon- 
santo Chemical Co. 123 Two conditions necessary for producing WP are 
proximity to phosphate rock deposits and a cheap source of electricity. 124 
The CWS arranged to have most of TVA's product shipped to Huntsville 
Arsenal, since transportation was relatively direct and inexpensive between 
these two points. The Monsanto plant supplied the other three CWS arse- 
nals as well as the Ferro Enamel Co., Cleveland, Ohio, which also filled 
some WP munitions. 125 

Shipping WP to the loading plants presented a problem. Because the 
chemical burned upon contact with air, it had to be shipped under a cov- 
ering of water. Trained operators filled the white phosphorus in liquid 
form into tank cars or trucks, which were insulated with 4 inches of rock 
wool and equipped with steam coils. The CWS bought 25 of these tank 
cars and 10 trailer trucks, the latter for the exclusive use of Huntsville 
Arsenal. Before the phosphorus was poured in, the tanks were partially 
filled with water, all but a small portion of which was to be replaced by 
the WP. The workmen had to exercise great care to make certain that 
all the water was not replaced by the chemical, else a fire would occur. 
On a short journey the chemical remained in liquid form and was un- 
loaded at its destination by a reverse process, that is, by forcing a suffi- 
cient quantity of water into the tank to replace the WP. On a long 
journey the material solidified and the tanks had to be treated with steam 
to liquefy the WP and make it ready for unloading. It was essential that 
the tanks be unloaded without undue delay because the combination of 
the phosphorus and water produced a weak solution of sulphuric acid 
which attacked steel. The material had to be stored in concrete structures. 

White phosphorus was loaded into artillery shells, 4.2-inch chemical 
mortar shells, 30-pound M46 bombs, and 100-pound M47 bombs, M15 
hand grenades, explosive type igniters, and 3.5-inch and 4.5-inch rockets. 
It was also loaded into catalin, bakelite, or glass containers, which in turn 

123 Alphabetic Listing of Major War Supply Contracts, vol. 3, p. 2137; vol. 4, p. 3075, and 
p. 3262. 

124 For an excellent account of the growth of the phosphorous industry see Christian H. Aall, 
'The American Phosphorus Industry," Industrial and Engineering Chemistry^ 7 (July 52), 

125 Interv, Hist Off with Maj Eugene F. Lennon, Jr, 16 May 58. 



served as ignition charges in the M74, M69, and M69X incendiary bombs. 
In the loading process the munitions were filled with hot liquid phos- 
phorus under water and then cooled to solidify the WP in such a way 
as to maintain proper ballistic properties. 126 

The CWS conducted training courses for phosphorus fillers and press 
operators at Edgewood Arsenal, to which key individuals from other arse- 
nals were sent for periods of from thirty to ninety days. Upon their re- 
turn to their home stations these workers trained others in the various 
procedures. 127 

Smoke Generators 

Immediately after the attack on Pearl Harbor a demand arose for sta- 
tionary smoke generators in the Panama Canal Zone and in the Western 
Defense Command. The OC CWS allocated procurement of this item to 
the Chicago procurement district office. Early in February 1942 the Chica- 
go office drew up a contract with Gendar, Paeschke and Frey Co. of Mil- 
waukee to produce about 10,000 stationary generators in 30 days. At the 
same time contracts for parts were drawn up with the Grand Sheet Metal 
Co. of Chicago and dozens of small sheet metal shops in the Chicago 
vicinity. A big problem was obtaining the 5,000 tons of 18-gauge sheet 
steel to fabricate the generators. A search revealed that the Ford Motor 
Co. in Detroit could spare this quantity of steel and the procurement dis- 
trict office arranged for transporting it to Milwaukee. Late in February an 
express trainload of stationary generators and auxiliary equipment was roll- 
ing to the New Orleans port of embarkation, destination Mercury. 128 

The CWS was responsible not only for the procurement of the generator 
itself but also for a list of some 35 auxiliary items. These items included 
10,000-gallon bolted steel tanks for storing the fuel oil, 750-gallon refuel- 
ing units mounted on Army 2?^ -ton trucks, 55-gallon drums, funnels, and 
torch igniters. 129 

By the fall of 1942, 123,800 smoke generators had been procured. Of 
this number 55,800 were in the hands of smoke generator companies in 

126 (1) CWS Report of Production, 1 Jan 40 through 31 Dec 45, pp. 5, 14, 17, 26, 28, 29, 
30. (2) Hist of Huntsville Arsenal from July 1941 to August 1945, vol, 1, 483-505. (3) Pre- 
liminary History of Pine Bluff Arsenal, World War II, sec. VIL (4) History of Rocky Mountain 
Arsenal, vol. IX, 2918-58, 3165-83. (5) Lennon Interv, 16 May 58. 

127 History of Huntsville Arsenal from July 1941 to August 1945, vol 1, p. 497. 

,28 (1) The code name for Panama. (2) History of Chicago CWPD, 1 Jan 45-15 Aug 45, 
p. 76. 

129 Ibid. 


the Canal Zone, at the Sault Ste. Marie Canal, and at aircraft factories on 
the west coast. Companies found that it was difficult to move the large 
bulky generators quickly when the wind changed, and this disadvantage, 
coupled with the development of better generators, led the service to aban- 
don the device in 1944. 130 

In mid- 1942 the CWS let a contract through the Chicago procurement 
district to the Heil Co. of Milwaukee for the manufacture of the Ml me- 
chanical generator. 131 This company worked closely with CWS technicians 
and representatives of the Standard Oil Development Co. on production 
difficulties. Among the serious production problems encountered was a 
tendency of the oil burners to overheat; this was solved by installing tem- 
perature regulators on the burners. Another difficulty was obtaining effi- 
cient pumps for the water and oil. The CWS procured over a thousand 
of these models. 132 

The Besler Corp., Emeryville, Calif, which was mainly responsible for 
developing the M-2 mechanical smoke generator, was the sole prime con- 
tractor for this item. 133 Besler, whose peacetime business was the engi- 
neering, developing, and building of high pressure generating units and 
engines, had already manufactured somewhat similar units for the Navy. 
Consequently, no outstanding production manufacturing troubles arose. The 
Clayton Manufacturing Co., Alhambra, Calif., the chief subcontractor, co- 
operated in an excellent manner in furnishing parts. Over 2,700 M2s were 
procured and shipped overseas. 134 

Airplane Smoke Tanks 135 

The CWS procured all airplane smoke tanks through its Chicago dis- 
trict. By far the greatest number— over ninety-two thousand—was of the 

1:10 (1) Memo for Record, Maj Delancey R. King, Opns Br OC CWS, 15 Sep 42, sub: Gen- 
erators, Smoke, Stationary, Ml. CWS 320.2/207. (2) CWTC Item 1010, Obsoletion of Genera- 
tor, Oil, Smoke, Ml, 5 May 44. (3) CWTC Item 1073, same title, 7 Jul 44 . 

13] The Ml mechanical generator was standardized in Jan 43- See |ch. IX| above. 

1:12 (1) History of Chicago CWPD, 1 January 1945-15 August 1945, p. 62. (2) Ltr, C Insp 
Div OC CWS to Insp Off Chicago CWPD, 6 Jun 44, sub: Inspection, Generator, Smoke, Mechan- 
ical, Ml (100 gallons). CWS 319-1, ETOUSA 1944. CWS Report of Production, 1 Jan 40 through 
31 Dec 4 5, p. 14 

1 13 See fch IXl above. 

114 (1) History of San Francisco CWPD, 1940-1945, pp. 78-80. (2) CWS Report of Produc- 
tion, 1 Jan 40 through 31 Dec 45, p. 14. (3) Interv, Hist Off with John A. Panella, 13 Mar 57. 
Mr. Panella, then a CWS officer, was in charge of the M2 smoke generator program in San Fran- 
cisco CWPD in World War II. 

151 This section is based on History of Chicago CWPD, 1 Jan 45-15 Aug 45, pp. 71-72, and 
CWS Report of Production, 1 Jan 45-31 Dec 45, p. 31. 



M10 type, which was wing mounted and expendable. Over ten thousand 
each of the M33 and M33A1 models were procured. These models, which 
were mounted in the bomb bays of the planes, were not expendable. As 
indicated above, some M20's and M21's were procured before decision was 
made to abandon these models. 136 

The principal contractor for smoke tanks was the Empire Stove Co., 
Belleville, 111. Other contractors were the James Manufacturing Co., Fort 
Atkinson, Wis., and the National Roadjoint Manufacturing Co. of Chi- 
cago. The contracts called not only for the delivery of the tanks but also 
of such parts as wrenches, elbows, air inlet plates, and plate closures. A 
hitch was encountered in the procurement of the parts by the shortage of 
copper bearing steel. In the installation of the M33 and M33A1 models a 
difficulty arose in developing satisfactory mounting lugs and braces. Both 
the Navy and the Air Forces co-operated closely with the CWS in resolv- 
ing this matter. 

Colored Smoke Munitions 12,1 

The loading of colored smoke munitions was confined to two CWS 
arsenals, Edgewood and Huntsville. By far, most of the loading was done 
at Huntsville. There the colored smoke was loaded into M16 and M18 
grenades, and M22 and M23 "rifle grenades, furnished by the Ordnance 
Department, and canisters for 105-mm. arid 155-mm. Ordnance shells. 

The job of loading these munitions raised a number of problems which 
were solved on a pragmatic basis. For example, when the production of 
Ml6 grenades was initiated in the fall of 1942 a hazard was created in 
rilling the grenade with the dry mix, the dust of which caused fires and 
explosions. To overcome this hazard the dry mix was placed in a dough 
mixer and granulated with water. In the spring of 1943, when the sched- 
ule for Ml6 grenades was increased, a quicker method of filling had to 
be found. Huntsville Arsenal experimented with a Stokes-Smith filling ma- 
chine using dry mix instead of granulated mix. This method proved suc- 
cessful for red and violet grenades, but not for yellow and green grenades, 
because the latter were more sensitive; consequently, they continued to be 
loaded by the granulated method. The finished batch of mix was tested 
by filling two grenades and firing them. If the grenades functioned accord- 

136 See |ch. IX| above. 

137 This section is based on History of Huntsville Arsenal, July 1941 to August 1945, vol. II, 
664-75 and CWS Report of Production, 1 Jan 40 through 31 Dec 45, pp. 6, 7, 15. 



ing to specifications the mix was used in the filling line; if not, it was 
reworked. In filling the M16 three increments were used, each increment 
being subjected to pressure of about two tons. As a preventative against 
dust, fuel oil was poured into the mix in the filling machine. 

In loading the Ml6 grenades, and all other colored smoke munitions, 
safety was the biggest problem. The danger of fire from dust and other 
causes was always present. Workers had to wear fireproofed clothing and 
safety shoes at all times. The plants had to have sprinkler systems, and 
the workers had to be taught how to use them. Dust was not only a fire 
hazard, but it also caused some workers to become ill for several hours 
at a stretch. 

Problem of Morale 

Complications arose in storing and issuing chemical warfare materiel 
no less than in its procurement. These complications began to appear in 
the emergency period and continued to challenge the CWS throughout 
the period of the war. 

Notwithstanding the hazards inherent in the operation of chemical war- 
fare plants, the CWS and its contractors did obtain the services of a body 
of loyal and efficient workers. When one considers these hazards together 
with the difficulties besetting the mass production of certain chemical war- 
fare items, it is not surprising that the CWS was sensitive to the need 
for maintaining a high level of morale. The chiefs office initiated the prac- 
tice of sending military officers who were on production assignments to 
Dugway Proving Ground to witness demonstrations of airplanes dropping 
incendiaries on specially built targets. These visits gave the officers an op- 
portunity to see in action the munitions they had labored to produce. If 
there were any duds the officers were impressed with the need for produc- 
ing only high grade materiel. Civilian workers at the arsenals and plants, 
many of whom were wives of servicemen, were spurred on by motion pic- 
tures depicting the effectiveness of chemical warfare munitions as well as 
through lectures given by soldiers who had been overseas. 

The contractors, no less than military and civilian workers, needed incen- 
tives to bring out their maximum potentialities. Problems associated with 
CWS procurement had particular implications for the contractors. In the 
matter of priorities, for example, a manufacturer who was faced with a 
low priority would naturally tend to assume that his product was not so 
important as others. He would, moreover, be put in the embarrassing 



position of having his work interrupted for lack of materials and labor 
without any provision being made for equitable compensation. Again, fre- 
quent changes in drawings and specifications resulting from the backward 
state of development of a number of chemical warfare items caused frus- 
tration among contractors. Sometimes the contractors would but recently 
have succeeded in mastering the manufacturing techniques on a certain 
model when a change would come along. Another source of irritation was 
the frequent revisions in production schedules resulting usually from a 
change in Army requirements. These changes might lead to cancellation 
of contracts or to the need for setting up new assembly lines with conse- 
quent dislocation of workers. Another possible source of annoyance was 
the inspection standards on certain items such as the gas mask. Regard- 
less of the merits or lack of merit of certain CWS inspection procedures, 
the fact was that many contractors resented the procedures. 

The principal medium for improving morale of contractors was the 
Army-Navy E (for Excellent) award. The quality and quantity of the con- 
tractor's production in the light of the facilities available to him were prime 
considerations in selecting recipients for this award. Other criteria included 
the contractor's record in (1) overcoming production obstacles; (2) avoid- 
ing work stoppages; (3) maintaining fair labor standards; (4) training addi- 
tional labor forces; (5) managing his business effectively; (6) maintaining 
a safe and sanitary plant; and (7) utilizing subcontracting facilities. Final 
selection of Army recipients for E awards rested with the Army Board for 
Production Awards appointed by the Under Secretary of War. 138 

The CWS presented over 150 E awards during the war. In the grant- 
ing of two of these awards, those to Erie Basin Metal Products, Inc., and 
to Batavia Metal Products, Inc., the CWS is open to criticism. The lack 
of co-operation on the part of these contractors in connection with the 
pricing program in the CWS would in itself seem to have been sufficient 
reason for precluding them from the awards. But their records on labor 
turnover and on use of facilities were also bad. These facts came to pub- 
lic notice in the open hearings before the Special Committee of the U.S. 
Senate Investigating the National Defense Program in July 1946. There it 
was revealed that the former wartime chiefs of the Chicago Ordnance Dis- 
trict offices, Brig. Gen. Thomas S. Hammond and Col. John Slezak, stead- 
fastly refused to recommend these contractors for E awards. To quote Gen- 

138 Army-Navy Production Award Manual, pp. 4-4a. CWS 314.7 "E" Awards File. 



eral Hammond, "If you gave the E award to them, the E award wasn't 
worth very much in the Fox River Valley after that." 139 

But there is good reason for believing that the E awards granted to 
the Erie Basin and Batavia Metals companies were the exception to the 
rule among CWS contractors. The standards for this award were very 
high— perhaps somewhat too high — and most of those who received it 
deserve the highest praise. There is little doubt that the other CWS con- 
tractors who got the E award richly deserved the honor. 

133 Hearings, pt. 34, p. 17894. 


Storage and Distribution 

Growth of CWS Storage Activities 

During the months before Pearl Harbor, new logistics responsibilities 
assigned to the Chemical Warfare Service led to major changes in storage 
facilities. The principal problems at the beginning of 1941 had been the 
storage of mobilization quantities of gas masks (and, to a lesser extent, the 
storage of toxic gases). The Army's September 1941 call for CWS pro- 
curement of incendiary bombs and 4.2-inch mortar shells introduced a whole 
new set of storage needs, and greatly enlarged the scale of facilities plan- 
ning. There could be no storage of bombs and shells in urban warehouses, 
nor was there space at Edgewood for the many new magazines which would 
be required. 1 As early as the winter of 1940-41 the CWS had to lease large 
warehouses in Chicago and Indianapolis for storing items delivered by 
contractors, and the Indianapolis installation was subsequently (April 1942) 
to become a full-fledged depot. But far more than this was needed. New 
depots had to be quickly planned. The first was an addition to the recently 
authorized CWS Huntsville Arsenal which the Army was building in 
northern Alabama. Action for this facility, the future Gulf Chemical War- 
fare Depot, began in September 1941 with an authorization for the trans- 
fer of 282,000 square feet of proposed toxic gas storage yard construction 
from Edgewood to Huntsville. 2 In November the Army informed the OC 
CWS that funds would be available to provide storage for 40,000,000 four- 
pound incendiary bombs. The planned Huntsville depot gained half the 

1 SeeEEZxDabove for description of storage facilities at Edgewood. 

2 (1) Ltr, Col P. X. English, C Ind Div OC CWS, to QMG, 23 Aug 41. CWS 681/29. 
(2) Memo, Col H. S. Aurand, C Req & Dist Br G-4, for Construction Br, 10 Sep 41, sub: Depot 
Storage Program (Deferred Storage). G-4/32315 Sec I. 



number of magazines needed to fill this requirement, while the remainder 
was scheduled for construction at Pine Bluff, Ark., like Huntsville the site 
of a new CWS arsenal. 3 During 1942 the storage area at Pine Bluff be- 
came the nucleus of another new depot, Midwest. 

As soon as the country was actually at war, the Chemical Warfare 
Service took steps to provide itself with a major depot in the far west. 
The preferred location was the Salt Lake City area, and a desert valley 
some fifty-seven miles southwest of the city, in Tooele County, Utah, was 
selected in February 1942. The new facility, designated Deseret Chemical 
Warfare Depot, was under construction by the summer of 1942, Its prin- 
cipal function was to serve as another storage center for bombs, mortar 
shells, and toxics. 4 

Within a year of the attack on Pearl Harbor, therefore, the wartime 
storage requirements of the Chemical Warfare Service were well on the 
way toward being matched by Chemical Warfare facilities. In addition to 
the prewar storage areas at Edgewood and Indianapolis, new depots were 
virtually complete at the sites of the Pine Bluff and Huntsville Arsenals, 
while the Deseret Depot was being hurried into existence. Deseret began 
its active storage operations in October 1942, despite the fact that con- 
struction was still underway; the depots at Pine Bluff and Huntsville had 
been operating since summer. From some 2,500,000 square feet of storage 
space in June 1942, the total available to the CWS jumped to 19,500,000 
square feet by the end of 1942 and to 23,000,000 square feet by the fol- 
lowing June. 5 

With the activation of the new depots the C\X/S depot system con- 
sisted of five branch depots —Eastern (Edgewood), Gulf (Huntsville), 
Midwest (Pine Bluff), Indianapolis, and Deseret— and five chemical sec- 
tions of Army Service Forces depots— Atlanta, Memphis, New Cumber- 
land, San Antonio, and Utah. 6 The missions of these installations varied 
considerably. The Indianapolis Depot became in effect (and eventually in 
name) a national control point for CWS spare parts. 7 The other branch 
depots had in common a responsibility for reserve storage of CWS gen- 

3 Memo, C Fid Svc OC CWS for C Ind Svc, OC CWS, 13 Nov 41. CWS 471.6 Bombs. 

4 (1) History of the Deseret Chemical Warfare Depot to June 30, 1945, pp. 1-13. (2) Ltr, 
f AG to C CWS, 14 Jul 42, sub: Designation of Deseret Chemical Warfare Depot. AG 681 
(7-9-42) MR-M. 

5 Cf Baum, Brophy, and Hemleben, Chemical Warfare Service Supply Program, pt. 4, Storage 
and Maintenance, p. 637, and Table 9. 

6 A sixth branch depot, Northeast, was activated in mid- 1944 near Niagara Falls, N.Y., to serve 
as an ammunition subdepot of Edgewood. 

7 See |ch. XIHl above. 



Table 9 — CWS Gross Storage Space in Operation, 1945 

[In Thousands of Square Feetj 








3 } 866 



20, 632 



Eastern CWD 

Indianapolis CWD 

Gulf CWD 

Midwest CWD 

Deseret CWD 

Northeast CWD 

New Cumberland ASFD 

Atlanta ASFD 

Memphis ASFD 

San Antonio ASFD 

Utah ASFD 

Chicago Warehouse a 

New York Warehouse a 

Hanford (Cal.) Warehouse a 

Independence (Cal.) Warehouse ' 

San Francisco POE * 

New York POE b 







18, 053 



1, 185 




a CE, Quarterly Inventory, Sponsored, and Leased Facilities, 31 Dec 44. 

b Hemleben, CWS Activities at Ports of Embarkation, pp. 142, 206, 213. Approximately 15,000 sq. ft. of CWS ware- 
house storage space was in use by the Port Chemical Officers at the smaller Porta of Embarkation. 

Sourer: ASF MPR-2-H, 31 Mar 45, p. 39, except as noted. 

eral supplies, but their main mission was the handling of chemical ammuni- 
tion and toxics for zone of interior distribution, shipment to Ports of 
Embarkation, and reserve storage. Distribution of general supplies, both 
for zone of interior installations and the Ports of Embarkation, was han- 
dled in the main by the Chemical Sections of the ASF Depots, which also 
distributed training ammunition to their local Service Commands. 8 

One of the early concerns of the new Headquarters, Services of Sup- 
ply, in the spring of 1942 was supervising and standardizing Technical 
Service depot activities. Immediately upon its activation the SOS called 
upon a group of commercial warehousemen to help solve Army warehous- 
ing problems. This group, working at the San Antonio General Depot, 
introduced a number of innovations into Army storage practices. Among 
these were the reduction of aisle space to a minimum by eliminating in- 
ventory aisles, and the mechanization of materials handling through the 

s Supply Mission statements of the branch depots and chemical sections may be found in 
S. J. Hemleben and E. M. Loughery, Hist of CWS in World War II, vol. IV, Chemical Warfare 
Service Supply Program, pt. V, Distribution, app. A. (MS Monograph). 



use of fork-lift trucks and palletized loads. 9 The CWS belatedly profited 
from the lack of peacetime expansion of storage facilities in that it could 
build the new depots along lines of contemporary storage practices and 
wartime Army requirements. At the prewar Eastern Depot at Edgewood 
storage space was distributed among a number of small buildings, all with 
floors at ground, rather than boxcar, level. The new CWS depots, on the 
other hand, were designed for more efficient concentration of storage, 
within limits of safety, and all had floors at boxcar level. The savings in 
aisle space and labor made possible by the new Army guidelines prom- 
ised to be considerable. 10 

The mechanization of materials handling at CWS depots began on a 
small scale during the summer and fall of 1942, in accordance with SOS 
policy and directives. The process of change was slow at first. Indianapolis 
Depot was using half a dozen fork-lift trucks for stacking materiel as early 
as July 1942. 11 Gulf Depot, which had begun operations on "whiskey 
and manpower" in the spring of 1942, received its first fork-lift trucks in 
October, along with some warehouse tractors. 12 Midwest and Deseret were 
operating fork-lift trucks by the spring of 1943, but Eastern Depot, with 
its complicated physical layout, did not begin this phase of mechanized 
storage until February 1944. 13 Northeast Depot, activated in the spring of 
1944, well after the early days of mechanization, used fork-lift trucks from 
the outset. 14 

The fork-lift truck made possible a number of labor- and space-saving 
advances in storage techniques. Chief of these was the palletized load, a 
unit of storage consisting of a pallet or wooden platform of a size to hold a 
given quantity of material, and built to leave clearance underneath for the 
forks of the fork-lift truck. Palletized loads, capable of being moved quickly 
into place with the fork-lift trucks, could be stored to considerable heights 
without danger of damage, thus making possible more economical use of 
space as well as of time and labor. 15 Fork-lift trucks were also used in 

9 (1) ICAF R 39, Handling of Materiel, Nov 45, p. 9- ICAF Library. (2) Millett, The Organ- 
ization and Role of the Army Service Forces, p. 300. 

10 Memo, Maj W. C. Crosby, WD General Depot Service, to Col A. B. Drake, 2 Jul 42, sub: 
Inspection of Edgewood CWS Depot. ASF A46-139, Eastern CW Depot. 

11 History of the Indianapolis CWD, May 1942-July 1945, p. 63. 

12 History of the Gulf CWD, 6 March 1942 to 15 August 1945, pp. 5, 10. 

13 ( 1) History of Midwest CWD, 2 August 1945, vol. I, pp. 60-62. (2) History of Deseret 
CWD to June 30, 1945, pp. 25, 28. (3) History of Eastern CWD to June 1945, pp. 107-08. 

14 History of Northeast CWD, June 1944-August 1945, pp. 8-10. 

15 For a more complete description of palletizing, see Risch, Organization, Supply, and Services, 
pp. 347-49. 



conjunction with many jigs, booms, 
and claw devices, most of them on- 
the-spot expedients, to improve the 
handling of bulky items. Deseret had 
a jig and boom attachment to the 
fork-lift truck in operation for un- 
loading freight cars by October 1943. 
Jigs for simultaneous handling of up 
to nine 55-gallon drums of toxics 
were in use there during 1944, and 
similar methods came into use for 
loading the awkward incendiary 
bomb clusters. 16 

By 1944 the use of mechanized 
handling equipment had become 
general in CWS depots, and the sav- 
ings in man-hours began to loom 
large. Eastern Depot found that the 
40 man-hours previously needed to 
unload a boxcar could be cut to 20 
or less, with 5 men doing the work of 10. 17 Deseret cut crew time for 
the unloading of 100-lb incendiary clusters from 5 hours to 1 hour per 
car by using fork-lift trucks with homemade jigs. 18 But fork-lift trucks 
brought problems as well as savings. Eastern Depot, which had never 
been built for mechanized handling equipment, frequently found itself in 
difficulties on this score. Its sixty-odd ground-level storage structures, 
scattered over two main areas a mile and half apart, made it hard even 
to get trucks from building to building, for they were not designed for 
cross-country operation. The trucks ultimately had to be mounted on low 
trailers constructed for the purpose, and towed from place to place by 
tractor. The depot also found that it needed an unusually large number 
of pallets if enough were to be on hand in any given area when required. 
By 1945 there were no fewer than 35,000 pallets of various sizes on the 
depot grounds. 19 

16 History of Deseret CWD, pp. 37-45. 
37 History of Eastern CWD, pp. 107-08. 

18 History of Deseret CWD, p. 42. 

19 History of Eastern CWD, pp. 108-11. 

Boxed Cans of Decontaminat- 
ing Solution stacked on pallets, 
wooden platforms built to leave clearance 
underneath for the forks of the fork-lift 



Storage and Transportation of Toxics 

The problems of handling war-swollen stocks of general supplies by 
up-to-date methods came upon the CWS suddenly, but the task of stor- 
ing items such as toxic agents was hardly new. The methods for storing 
and handling agents in bulk had been worked out during and after World 
War I by Edgewood Arsenal. The principal packaging device for toxics 
was the ton container, a steel cylinder with a capacity of 170 gallons (about 
1900 pounds in the case of mustard). These were kept in open storage, 
resting horizontally on tracks designed to keep them off the ground and 
assure free circulation of air. 

Edgewood had developed a deep respect for the problems inherent in 
handling and storing toxic agents and had worked out special techniques 
for testing, cleaning, and handling toxic containers. Men classified as toxic 
gas handlers had demonstrated an aptitude for the work and completed 
a special training course. This experience with a training program proved 
its value in another way after Pearl Harbor, when the depot at Edgewood 
found itself obligated to train cadres of toxic gas handlers for the new 
depots under construction. 20 Midwest Depot, for example, sent seven en- 
listed men to the course at Edgewood in the summer of 1942 as the first 
step in getting its projected toxic yard into operation. 

With the exception of Indianapolis, the new depots were meant to as- 
sume most of the responsibility for the storage of toxics. While Eastern 
was reaching its wartime maximum of some quarter of a million square 
feet of toxic yard space, its younger counterparts were hurrying to com- 
pletion toxic yards which multiplied Eastern's size many times over. Des- 
eret alone had a toxic yard potential of over eighteen million square feet, 
and Midwest and Gulf had 2,300,000 square feet between them. But in 
the early days of wartime production it sometimes seemed as i£. storage 
space would never catch up with the demand. At Midwest Depot in 1942 
the first shipment of toxics— 525 ton containers of mustard— arrived just 
in time to fill the storage tracks available, and for the next eleven weeks 
construction of additional trackage was matched week after week by fresh 
shipments. 21 Shipments of toxics into Deseret became necessary in Octo- 
ber of 1942, though the depot had been only four months under construc- 
tion. Over two thousand tons of mustard were received and stored there 
by mid-November, though most of the necessary mechanical handling equip- 

20 Ibid., pp. 122-27. 

21 History of Midwest CWD, p. 86. 



ment was still lacking and the crews were still without permanent living 
quarters. 22 

The maintenance of toxics in storage involved a number of special 
problems arising from the nature of the materials. Mustard, which consti- 
tuted by weight well over half of all the toxics produced by the CWS, 
required particular attention. In the form produced during most of the 
wartime period (the so-called Levinstein H) it contained about 30 per- 
cent of more or less unstable impurities which introduced some compli- 
cating factors when it was left in storage for any length of time. It evolved 
gases at a rate which sometimes built up dangerous amounts of pressure 
within the containers. It deposited tarry sludges which could not be drained 
out. Handlers had to learn techniques for testing pressures in containers, 
venting them when necessary, and cleaning them after they were drained. 
The possibility of leakage was always present, and with it the likelihood 
that other containers near the leaking one would become contaminated. 
Midwest Depot found it necessary at one time to segregate a large num- 
ber of suspect toxic-filled containers in a "sick bay" to keep them from 
contaminating the rest of the toxic yard when, as sometimes happened, a 
combination of corrosion and high pressure produced a sudden spray of 
mustard through a leak. 23 

When toxics were stored in 55-gallon drums instead of ton containers, 
as necessity or convenience sometimes required, problems of corrosion and 
leakage multiplied. If the drums were shipped and stored standing on end 
they were likely to trap rain water on top and rust. If they were placed 
on their sides some of the bungs at the ends were likely to leak. Even- 
tually CWS decided that in depots, at least, it was better to leave the 
drums on their sides and keep inspecting them for leaks, than to risk ac- 
celerated corrosion through rusting. 24 

In view of the undependability of containers and the highly dangerous 
character of toxic agents, it was very important that shipments of toxics 
be accompanied by guard details trained to handle such materials and to 
recognize and deal with potential sources of trouble. When large-scale 
shipments of toxics in and out of depots began in 1942, trained service- 
men were picked up wherever they were available to act as guards and 

22 History of Deseret CWD, pp. 23-26. 
2 * History of Midwest CWD, pp. 92-93. 

24 Ltr, CO Pine Bluff Depot [Midwest] to C CWS, attn: Supply Br, 15 Apr 43, sub: Storage 
of 5 5 -Gallon Drums for HS and 1st Ind, Col N. D. Gillet to CO, Pine Bluff Depot, 21 Apr 43. 
CWS 457-PBA-1943. 



Toxic Gas Yards, Midwest Chemical Warfare Depot, Pine Bluff Arsenal, 

handlers. The first trainload of mustard from Huntsville Arsenal to the 
toxic yard at Midwest Depot, for example, was convoyed by the first 7 
men the depot had sent to Edgewood for training as toxic gas handlers; 
they were simply detailed to stop off at Huntsville on their way back 
from Edgewood in order to accompany the train. 25 In other cases the in- 
stallation originating shipment provided a guar